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Sport Preview: World Cup 2022 - Fri 02nd Dec 2022

World Cup Previews: Fri 2nd Dec

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Selections

Ghana vs Uruguay: Fri 2nd Dec, 3:00pm

In South Africa, 12 years ago, Uruguay edged out Ghana on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the quarter-finals. The pair had not met before and they have not faced each other since.

Uruguay have yet to score in their two games in Qatar and many people’s pick for tournament outsiders have flattered to deceive.

None of their attacking stars have yet to arrive at the Doha party with Edinson Cavani and Darwin Nunez failing to hit the ground running, while Luis Suarez looks past it.

That said a win over Ghana will put Diego Alonso’s side in the last 16 at the expense of Friday’s opponents.

Alonso, though, has acknowledged that his side will have to improve on their two displays to date.

“The team has to loosen up and motivate itself more to play, like we did in the second half,” said Alonso after the 2-0 defeat to Portugal.

“We need to take risks, to be the brave team of the qualifiers and the second half.”

Uruguay did cause Portugal problems in that second half at the Lusail Stadium – and if they cut loose from the off against the Black Stars, then a win is possible.

Ghana, who showed great resolve to defeat South Korea 3-2, are in a tricky situation. A win would obviously seal their progress, but a draw will also be enough, as long as South Korea do not beat Portugal.

Playing for a draw is always a tricky proposition and Otto Addo’s men have shipped five goals in two games, suggesting keeping a tight ship will prove almost impossible.

The bookies favour the South Americans and they may just have enough, but going for goals may well be the way to approach this Group H clash.


Serbia vs Switzerland: Fri 2nd Dec, 7:00pm

Serbia and Switzerland were many people’s dark horse picks for Qatar. But one of them will bow out from Group G on Friday night.

Just which one of the European rivals will be heading home after just two weeks in Doha is a tough one to call.

The Swiss have the advantage of knowing a draw will put them in the round of 16, unless Cameroon defeat Brazil – then it will come down to goal difference.

Switzerland, who defeated Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic in their last three Nations League games, have been predictably pragmatic so far.

A 1-0 win over Cameroon and a defeat by the same scoreline to Brazil has the Swiss on the verge of the last 16.

Brazil took the best part of 83 minutes to break through on Monday night though as Murat Yakin’s men battled hard.

They also came close to scoring against the tournament favourites, who have yet to concede a shot on target. But Brazil managed to smother and get blocks on the Swiss dangermen any time they got within range.

Swiss boss Yakin has played down any fears of bad blood in the crunch clash.

Four years ago the Swiss pipped Serbia to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup thanks to goals from Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.

The pair then celebrated by making a double eagle gesture with their hands to represent the Albanian flag.

They of course both have roots in Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that declared independence in 2008 and where many people identify with the Albanian flag.

But now Kosovo is not recognised by Belgrade and Serbia were angered by what they saw as taunts.

Just how much needle there will be from the Serbia side is unclear. But they will have to show more nous than they did in the 3-3 draw with Cameroon.

Dragan Stojkovic’s men were 3-1 up and cruising before a mad three-minute spell saw them draw 3-3. 

“Two huge mistakes in the defence” was the difference, according to Stojkovic, whose side played with a kamikaze high line without enough pressure on the ball.

A similar slip-up on Friday night will end their World Cup hopes.

They did show against Cameroon that they have goals in their team, but Switzerland look tough and resilient and should get the draw that will probably send them through.



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