Who: Portugal versus Ghana, Group H
Where: Stadium 974
When: Thursday, November 24, 19:00 (16:00 GMT)
FIFA rankings: Portugal (9), Ghana (61)
Despite all his problems off the pitch at Manchester United and the decline in his skills as he gets older, 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best people to ever play the sport.
Portugal’s record goalscorer had a bad season but will be keen to host an unforgettable World Cup as this could be his swan singing appearance on a global level. It doesn’t matter that he likes to routinely silence his critics, especially on big occasions.
Saudi Arabia’s defeat by Argentina under the captain of arch-rival Lionel Messi could also serve as a great incentive for Ronaldo to push his team as far as possible in this tournament, for the sake of his legacy and to gain an advantage over his rival.
Supporting cast members, consisting of fellow veteran Pepe, AC Milan Wonderkid Rafael Leão, and a host of other stars, including midfielders Vitinha and Bruno Fernandes, will be on hand to help the team in their efforts to win a first-ever World Cup.
Full back Joao Cancelo, who can play on both flanks and is known for his excellent cross with the outside of his foot, will stand behind them and try to create magic from the defense.
If they get as far as winning the cup, it will be the third in a series of glorious games in six years, following the European Championships (2016) and the Nations League trophies (2019).
But first, they must take on Ghana, against whom they won 2-1 at the 2014 World Cup.
Star striker Mohammed Kudus from Ajax and the linchpin in defensive midfield Thomas Partey from Arsenal will lead the Revenge mission and hope to cut Ronaldo and others’s wings.
Although they are ranked 61th in the world by FIFA, the Black Stars — as Ghana is known — have a reputation for always surprising and delivering good performances in FIFA competitions in all age groups.
They will be anxious to implement this youth success at this World Cup and make it to the quarter-finals as they did in 2010 or even beyond.
The Ghanaians secured qualification for Qatar 2022 — their fourth game — against rival Nigeria as a result of the away goals rule. After a disastrous appearance at the African Cup of Nations in January, where they only scored a single point in a group with Morocco, Gabon and Comoros.
Fans will be hoping for a reversal of fate in the Middle East.
Your manager Otto Addo will be able to count on the experience of former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton in his back room to take on a decent challenge.
And if they manage to suppress one of the strongest attacks in world football on paper, they may also hope they can overcome all the barriers that Uruguay and South Korea — the other two teams in their group — present in subsequent games.