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Portugal vs. Ghana - FIFA World Cup 2014 Preview

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Portugal vs. Ghana
Match Date: 26 June 2014 (local time)
Match Venue: Estádio Nacional de Brasília (Brasília, Distrito Federal)

Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo’s typical swagger has been replaced with hangdog shoulders and a vaguely disinterested gait. Injury notwithstanding, his entire manner seems to befit a man (and country) already beaten. They have lost a keeper to injury, Rui Patricio, as well as their highly influential left-full back Fabian Coentrao. Bruno Alves’ performance had more in common with Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein than central defending, as the powerful centre-half was clearly unfit to participate in the USA clash. Veloso, Meireles and Moutinho have far too much work to do behind the glory hounds of Ronaldo and Nani, which is something that will be hard to amend at this late stage of proceedings (especially considering their dire need of three points). Helder Postiga was clearly not ready to start against the USA and Eder was positively awful when he came on. He moved lugubriously and halted every attacking move they had. Varela is going to have to start in this game if Portugal have any chance of going through. Quaresma would be a move I would make, but I doubt Portugal will risk tinkering too much in attack after bringing in Varela. They look a side on the ropes and come up against a powerful and passionate Ghanaian side..

Ghana

Akwasi Appiah’s side will be without the services of work-horse Sulley Muntari, who was rather stupidly booked in the final moments of their clash with the USA. This will almost certainly see Michael Essien drafted into the side to lend experience and steel to the midfield. This was probably the only way that Essien would have featured in this World Cup after Appiah’s insistence that Muntari and Essien would not start together. Kevin Prince-Boateng will need a better performance this time around should his side stand any chance of qualification. Gyan and Ayew have occasionally electrified with their pace and dynamism. When you take into account the static Costa-Alves partnership, Ghana have every chance of causing major disruption in the Portuguese defence. Mensah and Boye will have to deal with the possible threat of Ronaldo and hope that Gyan and Ayew can give them something to defend.

World Cup 2014 Betting tips: Ghana

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