You can make a case that Grouping H is the Group of Death at this World Cup. Honestly, we believe that the moniker belongs to Group E, but you can easily make a case for either being the Group of Death, since both are so strong. Beyond it is status as the potential of Group of Death, Group H has storylines aplenty. The biggest superstar in the grouping, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, will almost certainly be playing in his final World Cup, and he’ll be doing so under an extreme microscope.
Ronaldo, on the heels of an ugly holdout this preseason, gave an interview where he publicly slammed his own manager and his own club, Manchester United as whole. Safe to say that he won’t be returning there after his service with Portugal concludes at this World Cup.
Group H Looms As Group of Death
But where does Ronaldo go after this? No team that he would accept playing for actually wanted him this past summer, and thus he ended up stuck at United for the first third of the season. His Diva behavior here is Mariah Carey level. Just best for all involved that United just release him from his contract early.
The Portuguese probably have the strongest claims to being favorites in this group as they have a lot of quality and depth. With Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva (unfortunately, Diogo Jota is out injured) they have one of the most fearsome attacks that will take the field in Qatar.
A Seleção qualified the hard way after an uninspiring run of results in November 2021 cost them automatic qualification from Group A in the UEFA Qualifying section. They eventually won through with a 2-0 playoff victory over North Macedonia. Portugal will be looking to win their first-ever World Cup. First, they will have to overcome this group of death first.
Uruguay is a two-time World Cup winner. Led by veteran striker Luis Suarez and midfield maestro Federico Valverde, La Celeste will be looking to put their best foot forward after a disappointing 2021. They were dumped out of the Copa America at the quarter-final stage last year after being heavily favored to make it much further.
In Russia at the World Cup in 2018 the Uruguayans were eliminated in the quarter finals by eventual champions France.
Alongside the tasty matchup that will see Uruguay and Portugal face-off, there is also the little matter of the grudge match against Ghana. Don’t know what I am talking about? Jump on YouTube and search Luis Suarez handball vs Ghana from the 2010 World Cup.
The Black Stars are back at the World Cup this year after edging out Nigeria on away goals in the final stage of African qualifying. This is their first appearance since 2014 after missing out on qualification in 2018.
Ghana doesn’t have the same star-studded player list that they have enjoyed at previous World Cups. Their qualification was very much a team effort. That doesn’t mean they are without their own headliners, however. They can count Thomas Partey of Arsenal and Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace for a sprinkling of star power.
Despite a disappointing AFCON that saw them eliminated at the group stage without a victory, Ghana should not be underestimated. And the entire nation will be relishing the opportunity of gaining some revenge on Uruguay.
South Korea have qualified for their ninth World Cup in a row. They will be looking to make it out of the group stage for the first time since 2010. The Reds finished second in their qualifying group in Asian qualification. They suffered their only defeat on the final matchday with their passage to Qatar already secured.
The Asian heavyweights are not to be underestimated. In Heung Min-son they have one of the most prolific players in the strongest league in the world, the English Premier League. Unfortunately, an injury to his eye-socket means he’ll only play limited role, if any, in this tournament. If/when he does take to the pitch, he’ll likely be brandishing a protective mask. Perhaps the least likely to cause an upset in this group, write them off at your own peril.
2022 Qatar World Cup Grouping Previews
Stuart Kavanagh is an up-and-coming sports journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.com, he is also the co-host of the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast. Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.Follow paulmbanks