Portugal 3-2 Ghana: boredom in the first half, chaos in the second

Fears of another desert nap fest dissipated after the hour mark. Ronaldo swapped long sleeves for short ones at halftime (Ghana swapped the bus parking lot for trying a bit, getting their first touch into the Portuguese box after 51 minutes) and, in the 65th minute, made history in his fresh. attire. In the week he parted ways with Manchester United, the 37-year-old became the first player to score in five different World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022), breaking the record previously held by Pele. Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose; However, all eight of his World Cup goals came in the group stage.

But the whirlwind of fawning congratulatory tweets was barely dissipating when Ghana finally reaped the rewards of taking a more positive approach through André Ayew’s equalizing goal. With him, the 2010 quarter-finalists became the third African country to score in six consecutive World Cup games, after South Africa (six between 1998 and 2010) and Nigeria (eight between 1994 and 1998).

Almost immediately, however, they went from reaping the rewards to paying the price: quick strikes from João Félix and Rafael Leão, who were six and seven years old respectively when Ronaldo (now Portugal’s oldest and youngest Copa del Rey scorer) World) scored his first World Cup goal, putting Portugal on course for victory in their first match of the tournament for the first time since Germany 2006, when they also beat African opposition Angola (1-0). Osman Bukari’s header in the 89th minute set up a grandstand finish, culminating in Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost giving the equalizer to Iñaki Williams, who pounced after stalking behind him but slipped at the crucial moment, but Fernando Santos’ team held on for three points because of the skin on their teeth.

First half: boredom. Second half: uproar. Portugal, while certainly having plenty of room for improvement, appear well placed to reach the knockout rounds for the fourth time in five World Cups; Ghana, despite their best efforts, have everything to do against Uruguay and South Korea to reach their third in four appearances.

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