Despite being a well-known footballing nation, Portugal has only ever advanced to the World Cup semifinals twice, in 1966 and 2006, and they haven’t advanced past the round of 16 in four of their last five competitions.
The Selecao lost to fellow Group H rivals Uruguay in the round of 16 at the World Cup finals four years ago, and despite thrashing Nigeria 4-0 in a friendly last Thursday, they have only managed a pitiful three victories in their last 11 games.
Fast starts, however, have not been a theme for Portugal at the World Cup as Santos’ team has lost each of their last three opening games on the largest international stage.
Ghana, on the other hand, needs to put on their best shooting boots if they hope to get past a Portuguese defence that has only allowed two goals in their last seven games.
Ghana is getting ready for its fourth World Cup appearance since 2006, and the African nation has only been eliminated at the group stage once before. On December 2, the two sides will resume hostilities.
But that disappointing exit came in their most recent appearance in 2014, where they were eliminated without a victory. Earlier this year, before Otto Addo took over, the Black Stars also lost all three of their games at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana enters the World Cup having won seven of their last eight games across all competitions, keeping clean sheets in all of those victories, and only losing to Brazil during that run.
They also impressively defeated Switzerland 2-0 in a friendly last week. Results since the summer have caught people’s attention, though!
At this level of football, Portugal and Ghana are not complete strangers; at the 2014 World Cup, Ronaldo helped the A Selecao defeat the Black Stars 2-1, and a similar performance here would help him in his quest to once again make headlines for the right reasons.
So, Can Portugal and Ronaldo overcome Ghana?!
Here is what the betting market thinks!
1X2 Betting Odds
Portugal are the heavy favourites to win this one. Their odds are at 1.44.
While the possibility that a draw might take place, stands at 4.9.
And the far-fetched reality of a win for Ghana is at 8.6!
The odds don’t reflect it, but it could get difficult for Portugal.
This has all the makings of a sticky opening match for Portugal, with Ghana proving a tough nut to crack defensively in recent matches and possessing plenty of youthful talent in the final third.
The Selecao faithful should not expect their side to stroll to victory in Doha, but with so many talented attacking options at their disposal, it is still likely that Portugal grinds this out for a narrow win!
Total goals over/under
The market believes that this could be have a few goals in at, as the odds that the total number of goals will be more than 2.5, stands at 1.95
While the odds that the total goals scored will be less than 2.5, stands at 2.00.