Brazil, Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay kick off their campaigns on a stellar fifth day of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Neymar begins his quest to climb the World Cup and become certified Brazil legend when they start their group G campaign at 19:00 against Serbia.
It has been another quiet week for Cristiano Ronaldo. who left Manchester United on Tuesdayand his Portugal side start with face Ghana in group X.
Heung Min Sung, who underwent surgery to stabilize a fracture around his left eye earlier this month, is ready to lead South Korea in their opening against Uruguay at 13:00. The day starts with Switzerland take over Cameroon at 10 am.
- Switzerland v Cameroon – Group G, start at 10.00.
- Uruguay vs. South Korea – Group H, start at 13:00.
- Portugal vs. Ghana – Group H, start at 16:00.
- Brazil vs Serbia – Group G, start at 19:00.
Fernandes: Portugal are not distracted by Ronaldo
Bruno Fernandes insists Portugal are ‘100% focused’ on World Cup despite Ronaldo leaving Manchester United.
Ronaldo said it was “the right time for a new challenge” after his contract with the Premier League team was terminated.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursday’s game against Ghana, Fernandes said: “We are all 100 percent focused on the national team and the World Cup. We all know what we need to do.”
“We are in the championship every player dreams of and the competition every player wants to play in.”
Asked if he would be uncomfortable with his former Manchester United teammate, Fernandes added: “I don’t feel uncomfortable, I don’t have to choose a side. Cristiano has always been an inspiration to me, so it was a dream come true. true to be able to play with it, but we know that nothing lasts forever.
“It was good as long as it lasted. We must respect his decision, whether we agree with him or not.”
Portugal manager Fernando Santos insisted that the topic of Ronaldo’s move was not brought up in the group, adding: “It’s something that wasn’t discussed when we were all together. (Ronaldo)”.
Brazil enjoys the favorites tag
According to head coach Tite, Brazil have no problem being favorites to win the World Cup and dealing with pressure should come naturally to their players.
“The pressure is natural. Brazil has the biggest football history and with that legacy comes pressure,” he said.
“We have some players who get the most media attention in the world, so we take it naturally, it’s our dream to win the World Cup. The pressure is inevitable.”
Brazil has won the World Cup five times, and Tite said he was not responsible for the fact that Brazil had not won the tournament for 20 years.
He said he could only be held responsible for the last four years, his only full cycle since Brazil lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals in Russia in 2018.
“In Russia, we only had two years to fix the team and I came to the rescue. Now everything is different, because I had the opportunity to build the team the way I wanted,” said Tite.
“That’s why I feel completely different today than I did four years ago. I’m not so nervous because all the work has already been done.”
“We won’t target the Son”
Uruguay manager Diego Alonso denied suggestions that his players would be targeting Son’s vulnerability around his face.
“It’s hard to answer your question,” he said at a pre-match press conference. “The question is about Son and we have a lot of respect for Son, but they have other players and they train very well with an exceptional starting lineup.
“The only advantage we will achieve here is our football. We will try to be better than them and use our players and not take advantage of the other team’s difficulties.”
Alonso also called his players “the best in the world” as they were in contention for an unlikely third World Cup success.
“The Uruguayan players are the best in the world, they protect us no matter what,” he said. “The most important tool we have is the feeling that the Uruguayan players have, the way they identify themselves, the sense of belonging they have.
“When I say that the Uruguayan players are the best in the world, it is because they are my players. The Uruguayan players respect the team, so they are the best.”
Yakin: This is the best Swiss team ever
Switzerland manager Murat Yakin said on Wednesday that the current national team is “the best ever” and is determined to advance to the later stages of the World Cup in Qatar.
Switzerland have exited the group stages in three of the last four competitions, missing out only in 2010.
Yakin, who took over the reins last year after Switzerland reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, predicted the country would have a better showing at any World Cup in Qatar, where they also face Brazil and Serbia in Group G.
“I think we’re seeing the best Swiss national team that has ever been,” Yakin said. “We have improved a lot and now we want to write history. We’re not just here to participate. We are here to win and we want to go to the next round.”
Heung-Min Song be good enough to show South Korea in the first World Cup match against Uruguay.
Head coach Paulo Bento has confirmed that the Tottenham striker will play in the black protective mask he wore in training after suffering a broken left eye in the Champions League match against Marseille on November 1.
While Son will play for South Korea and face Tottenham teammate Rodrigo Bentancur, his Premier League counterpart. Hee Chang Hwan will miss due to a hamstring injury.
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo may be used for Uruguay after hip injury and Liverpool Darwin Nunez He is expected to recover from a minor blow to his ankle he received in training this week.
Serbian national team coach Dragan Stojkovic hopes for the striker’s health. Alexander Mitrovicwho missed Fulham’s last couple of Premier League games with a foot problem.
“For the last four or five days he has been working with the team,” Stojkovic said. “The good news is that he does not feel pain in the place where he got injured.”
Serbian boss names Juventus wingback Philip Kostic was questionable with a muscle problem.
Opta stats: Will Uruguay stop early game failures?
- This is the first meeting between Switzerland and Cameroon. It is also only the second time that Switzerland will face an African team at the World Cup, having beaten Togo 2-0 in the group stage of the 2006 tournament.
- Cameroon qualified for its eighth FIFA World Cup, the most among African teams. They have also played more World Cup matches than any other African country (23) and only Nigeria (23) has scored more goals in the African team tournament than Cameroon (18).
- In addition to a record five wins at the FIFA World Cups, Brazil has won more games (73) and has the best win rate (67 percent – 73 wins in 109 games) of any country in the tournament’s history.
- Uruguay have won their first match in only one of their last seven World Cup matches (D3 L3), although the last time this happened was in 2018 against Egypt. However, they still qualified from the group stage in five of those seven editions.
- Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only four players to have scored in four different World Cup tournaments, along with Pelé, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. No player has found the grid in five releases.