The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on November 20 in Qatar, marking the first time in history the tournament has been held during winter months. Group H is highlighted by Portugal and Uruguay, who are the favorites to advance to the knockouts. Ghana and South Korea both have plenty of experience and will be looking to mount an upset or two in hopes of moving on.
Let’s take a closer look at Group H ahead of their opening day on November 24, starting with Portugal vs. Ghana and Uruguay vs. South Korea.
Portugal, ranked No. 9 ahead of the tournament, are set to likely play their last World Cup with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. Ronaldo is 37 years old, and will turn 38 in February, making him nearly 42 by the time the next World Cup comes around. Both he and Argentina’s Lionel Messi will have one last hurrah, with only one of them able to have a chance at adding a World Cup trophy to their long list of achievements. It’s quite possible they’ll both retire without ever having won a World Cup tournament, but Portugal will do their best to make the final for the first time in their history.
The Portuguese side is riddled with stars, including Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Neves and William Carvalho among others. Ronaldo is obviously the standout here, notching 117 goals in 191 games, making him the all-time top scorer and most-capped player in the nation’s history. While they narrowly missed out on qualification, they’re the favorites to win the group and advance to the knockouts.
Ghana comes into the 2022 World Cup as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 61 in the world. It’s their fourth World Cup appearance, and soccer fans in the United States will remember them well as they’ve played against the USMNT in all three of their previous appearances. They defeated the Americans in 2006 and 2010, but lost in 2014 as they made a group stage exit. After missing out on 2018, they’re making their return in hopes of faring better than previous years, with the quarterfinal exit in 2010 serving as their best finish to date. They’ll be armed with attacking players like Thomas Partey, Iñaki Williams, and Jordan Ayew with former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Otto Addo calling the shots as head coach.
No. 14 Uruguay enter the World Cup as two-time tournament champions, although those two titles came in 1930 and 1950. Since that 1950 win, they haven’t finished higher than fourth place, and they’re coming off of a 2-0 loss to France in the 2018 quarterfinals. While they still have longtime staple Luis Suarez in the mix, he’s likely playing his last World Cup as he’ll turn 36 in January. Suarez holds the title of the nation’s all-time top scorer with 68 goals through 134 caps, while one of his strike partners Edinson Cavani isn’t far behind with 58 goals. Cavani is also likely playing in his final World Cup, as the striker will turn 36 in February. Diego Godin, also a longtime mainstay on the Uruguayan backline, will join them in his last World Cup as he turns 37 in February.
Luckily for Uruguay, they have plenty of young talent coming up as the old guard phases out, most notably young Liverpool star Darwin Nunez. Nunez only has 13 caps under his belt for the national team, but he’s scored three goals and is one of the most exciting prospects in the English Premier League this season.
Ranked No. 28, South Korea is the least favored to win the group with odds at +1100 at DraftKings Sportsbook. They’re making their 10th consecutive World Cup appearance, with their best finish coming in 2002 when they finished in fourth place. It was the first time they’d ever won a game at the World Cup, and they made the most of it by making a run all the way to the semifinals.
The squad has an incredibly elite goalscorer in their ranks in Son Heung-min, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur and was last season’s co-Golden Boot winner as both he and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scored 23 goals. Son has 35 goals through 104 games for the South Korea national team, and at just 30 years old, he’s likely got at least a couple more tournaments left in him before he retires.
Odds to win Group H on DraftKings Sportsbook
South Korea: +1100
Group H Schedule
Thursday, November 24:
Portugal vs. Ghana, 11 a.m. ET
Uruguay vs. South Korea, 8 a.m. ET
Monday, November 28
Portugal vs. Uruguay, 2 p.m. ET
South Korea vs. Ghana, 8 a.m. ET
Friday, December 2
Ghana vs. Uruguay, 10 a.m. ET
Portugal vs. South Korea, 10 a.m. ET