Ghana will be hoping to become the third African country to advance to the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup when they face off against rivals Uruguay in the last group stage match on Friday. But the grudge Ghana has been carrying from their 2010 FIFA World Cup encounter with the Uruguayans will be weighing down heavily on the Black Stars. This when striker Luis Suarez openly parried away a goal-bound shot on the goal line to deny Ghana an opportunity to progress to the semifinals of the first World Cup tournament on African soil. Black Stars striker Asamoah Gyan then failed to convert from the resultant penalty, but it is Suarez’s mischief that still lingers in the minds of the Ghanaian players.
A win will take Ghana to the knockout stages where they will most likely face Brazil. A draw can still be enough to have them progress out of the group, but for this they would need Portugal to prevail over South Korea in the other match to be played at the same time. But banking on Portugal to do the work against the South Koreans could backfire. France, who had already qualified for the knockout stages going into their final match, lost to Tunisia, while Spain who had looked unstoppable en route next round after their emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica and 1-all draw against Germany, almost crashed out when complacency set in. Portugal have already qualified for the last 16 and do not need to win against South Korea unless they just want to finish top of the group to try and avoid Brazil in the last 16. That puts the responsibility squarely on Ghana’s shoulders to win the match for themselves against Uruguay.
While Portugal’s last 16 berth is confirmed, South Korea will have everything to play for and one thing that has been evident in this tournament has been their never-say-die attitude which was salient when they came back from 2-0 down against Ghana, even though they eventually lost 3-2. Ghana will know South Korea getting the results against Portugal will be as possible as Japan did it against Spain. But maybe forget Ghana, South Korea will know they can do it. But a draw for the Taegeuk Warriors will be good news to the Black Stars.
But the dark horses of Group H will be bottom-placed Uruguay. While Edinson Cavanni and Luis Suarez have yet to show their best in Qatar, their experience makes La Celeste a team never to take lightly. Uruguay need nothing less than three points against Ghana to take them to four points with an opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages depending on the outcome of the match between Portugal and South Korea. A draw or a loss will be the end of their participation in Qatar.
Worst case scenario
With Ghana already on second position, the worst case scenario for Group H would be a situation where Ghana lose their match to Uruguay and either Uruguay or South Korea go through.
Portugal and South Korea to go through.