World Cup 2022: Uruguay vs Ghana match preview

Uruguay needs a win. Ghana will want one — to qualify, and to set the record right.

Ghana fans before their opening game against Portugal [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Who: Uruguay v Ghana, Group H

Where: Al Janoub Stadium

When: Friday, December 2, 6pm (15:00 GMT)

FIFA Ranking: Uruguay (14), Ghana (61)

It’s been 12 years since a fresh-faced Luis Suarez clawed a lightweight Jabulani ball off the line to deny Ghana a last-minute winner in the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Suarez was sent off, and Ghana were awarded a penalty in the 120th minute, which Asamoah Gyan missed. Uruguay would go on to win the subsequent penalty shootout and break Ghanian hearts in one of the cruellest exits in World Cup history.

Suarez stops a Ghanaian goal with his hands at the 2010 World Cup [Action Images/Carl Recine]

This time La Celeste and the Black Stars meet in a group stage match, but once again, qualification to the next round for both teams rides on the match’s outcome.

Ghana head into the game with three points, having suffered an opening day 3-2 defeat to a star-studded Portugal but bounced back to beat South Korea by the same score in a thrilling end-to-end second match.

Ghana's Mohammed Kudus celebrates scoring their third goal
Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus celebrates scoring their third goal against South Korea [Molly Darlington/Reuters]

A win would guarantee Ghana a place in the round of 16 but a draw could suffice unless South Korea beats Portugal by two or more goals in their final group game.

Uruguay are in a worse position as they head into the match with a solitary point from their goalless draw with South Korea. Uruguay lost their second match 2-0 to Portugal, meaning they have yet to score in this tournament.

Liverpool FC’s Darwin Núñez has yet to score at the tournament [Petr David Josek/AP Photo]

Scoring will be essential in their clash with Ghana because they must win if they are to stand any chance of qualifying. With Edison Cavani, Darwin Núñez and Luis Suarez all available, Uruguay should be able to end this goal drought.

Interestingly, like Ghana, Uruguay will be hoping that South Korea do not do too well against Portugal. If La Celeste do beat Ghana, they can qualify for the next round if South Korea loses or draws their last match. If both Uruguay and South Korea win, then goal difference, goals scored or fair play might determine who joins Portugal in the round of 16 from Group H.

While backroom experts will be following these equations, the players themselves will be looking to keep it simple: All they can do is score and win.

Source: Al Jazeera