South Korea, Ghana, Uruguay, Serbia and Cameroon all battle for a spot in the knockout round on Friday, while Brazil and Portugal have already qualified.
We are finally here – the last day of the group stage matches in Qatar. Let’s dive in. There are four games scheduled for Day 13 — Friday, December 2 — of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Group H: South Korea vs Portugal (Education City Stadium, 6pm)
Group H: Ghana vs Uruguay (Al Janoub Stadium, 6pm)
Group G: Serbia vs Switzerland (Stadium 974, 10pm)
Group G: Cameroon vs Brazil (Lusail Iconic Stadium, 10pm)
South Korea vs Portugal
Portugal have already secured a place in the last 16 and they will try to go undefeated against a swinging South Korea, who lost 2-3 to Ghana, to secure the top spot in Group H.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his associates head into Friday’s match in comfort after beating Ghana and beating Uruguay, while South Korea for their part will be thrust into a do-or-die moment after collecting just one point after a scoreless stalemate with Uruguay.
However, South Korea could draw inspiration from their 1–0 2002 World Cup victory against Portugal, where they progressed to the last 16 for a semi-final and knocked out the Seleção das Quinas.
Coach Paulo Bento will not run the South Korean bench after receiving a red card for an outburst late in his team’s game against Ghana.
“Qualification is guaranteed, but we also want first place,” Ronaldo tweeted before the match. “There are no limits for this team or our goals. Let’s go for more! Good luck Portugal!”
The apuramento guarantees mas queremos também or 1.º lugar. There are no limits to the equipment you need for our lenses. Vamos for more! Força Portugal!🇵🇹🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/BeQFNW3GsR
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 1, 2022
Ghana vs Uruguay
It is now or never for Uruguay as they hope to progress to the knockout round of the 2022 World Cup after being outplayed by Portugal and robbed by goalposts in a goalless draw with South Korea.
For Ghana, the lowest placed team in the World Cup, a draw against the South Americans could be enough to go to the last 16. But that’s only if Portugal can dismantle a feisty South Korea in their showdown on Friday. Ghana was beaten by Portugal, but showed promise on Monday in fending off a feisty South Korea.
For Uruguay to find the victory column at the Al Janoub Stadium, veterans Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani – who have struggled so far – will have to shine.
Ghana, meanwhile, has set its sights on redemption after Uruguay handed the Black Stars an ignominious quarter-final defeat at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Serbia vs Switzerland
Switzerland are chasing the last spot in Group G in their Friday bout with Serbia – a rematch of their heavily contested 2018 World Cup meeting that was clouded by political tension.
However, it will be a daunting uphill journey for Serbia to reach the knockout stages.
Not only must Serbia beat the 15th-ranked Swiss, captained by Granit Xhaka, by a sizeable goal margin, but they will also depend on Cameroon to slide past Brazil for a narrow victory.
Switzerland, which is on three points, is about to join Brazil’s last 16. A win will get them there, but so will a draw, but only if underdogs Cameroon can outscore a dominant Brazil.
Cameroon vs Brazil
Can Cameroon prevail against number one – and undefeated – Brazil, who are scoring high after wins against Switzerland and Serbia?
If so, the Indomitable Lions will have to give their best after a loss to Switzerland and a draw to Serbia. Keep an eye out for striker Vincent Aboubakar, who ensured Cameroon’s survival after arguably one of the most spectacular goals of the 2022 World Cup against Serbia.
Brazil, which has already qualified for the knockout stage of the tournament, is expected to rest many of its top players in Friday’s game. It is unclear whether Neymar, who was sidelined in the group stage due to injury, can make a comeback in the knockout stages.
Brazil will face one of Group H’s opponents – Portugal, Ghana, South Korea or Uruguay in the knockout stage. On Friday they will play against the number two of the group. A loss could mean a possible showdown with Portugal, depending on how things turn out on Friday.
Did you miss any of the World Cup action? Al Jazeera English has you covered. See which teams have progressed and which are going home here. Want to improve your football foresight? Look no further than Kashef, our artificial intelligence (AI) predictor, who calls all matches in Qatar.