Match preview for day 13 of 2022 FIFA World Cup as Groups G and H bring the curtain down on the group stage.
In Group G, Brazil is already through but Switzerland have their fate in their own hands, as Cameroon and Serbia look to snatch the final qualification spot for the knockout stages.
Portugal meanwhile have qualified from Group H with a game to spare but Ghana know that a win over Uruguay would be enough, whilst South Korea need results elsewhere to swing their way coupled with a win to keep their title dreams alive.
Now, here is a guide to all four crunch matches as the Group Stage draws to its conclusion.
Group H (3:00pm GMT)
Ghana vs Uruguay
Although at least one point would be enough to see Ghana qualify if South Korea fail to beat Portugal, I do expect them to come out fighting for the win because we know how stubborn they’re defensively yet clinical up front.
Uruguay though know that only a win could see them through depending on South Korea’s result elsewhere, yet they now need to find their clinical edge after two wasteful displays because they won’t qualify otherwise for the knockout stages.
One positive for Uruguay though is that they are defensively solid at the back so this game could well be a nervy game given what is at stake for both teams, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Ghana spring a surprise given their unity and positive momentum.
Prediction: Ghana 2-1 Uruguay
Result: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay
South Korea vs Portugal
This is simply must-win for South Korea who have simply lacked any end product in their two opening games, but their defensive marking proved their downfall against Ghana amidst dominance on the ball so I do expect a better response here.
Portugal meanwhile are already qualified and ideally need just one point to top the group which does make this game an opportunity for squad rotation, especially after two clinical second-half displays against Ghana and Uruguay.
Should Portugal indeed rest their key players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, South Korea have no excuses to not take advantage if they can clinically finish their chances otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised if the UEFA Euro 2016 winners advance undefeated.
Prediction: South Korea 0-1 Portugal
Result: South Korea 2-1 Portugal
Group G (7:00pm GMT)
Cameroon vs Brazil
Grit is a word which would sum up Cameroon’s performances so far because they were unlucky against Switzerland, yet showed excellent attacking resilience to fight back from 2-1 down at half-time to draw 3-3 against Serbia.
That latter game though exposed how vulnerable Cameroon can be defensively when oppositional teams up their intensity, yet they are no pushovers as they showed by two quick-fire goals to restore parity after having initially led but this is now must-win if they’re to qualify for Round of 16.
Brazil meanwhile are already through and unless their focus is already on the Round of 16, I can’t see them losing this game despite likely squad rotation and Neymar’s expected continued absence – such is the high-quality depth in their squad.
Cameroon though need to just play without fear and try to spring a surprise because a win could be enough depending on the result of Serbia’s clash against Switzerland.
Prediction: Cameroon 0-2 Brazil
Result: Cameroon 1-0 Brazil
Serbia vs Switzerland
After a disappointing draw against Cameroon from 3-1 up after initially falling behind, Serbia now know that this is a must-win game if they’re to advance as long as Cameroon lose to Brazil elsewhere.
Their biggest issue though does seem to lie in their defensive focus with five sloppy conceded goals, which can’t be repeated here despite their decent attacking press and finishing threat which worked against Cameroon when upped their intensity.
Switzerland meanwhile have their fate in their own hands and although they weren’t expected to beat Brazil last time out, they did well to frustrate their rivals with a strong defensive display which was undone by one single clinical moment amidst their own wasteful end product at the other end.
On that note, I am not anticipating a classic because both teams know that a win is vital to their qualification hopes – especially if Cameroon can get a goal or even the lead against Brazil but Switzerland should have the edge if they can dig deep like they did to beat Cameroon in their opener.
Prediction: Serbia 0-1 Switzerland
Result: Serbia 2-3 Switzerland