World Cup Group H Preview

Cristiano Ronaldo
(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022
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Last but not least at the World Cup is Group H. As it contains Ghana, Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay, there are representatives from four different confederations. Each nation will play the other three in a round robin format between Nov. 24 and Dec. 2. The two countries with the best records will advance to the Round of 16.

While Group H features some very proud footballing nations, it is unquestionably one of the weaker sections in the draw.

Aside from hosts and longshots Qatar, Portugal was the lowest ranked nation in Pot 1. What’s more, they slipped a spot in the Rankings when they were updated and would’ve been second seeds had the draw been made then.

But the team that did emerge from Pot 2 was two-time world champion Uruguay. The power of South American rivals Argentina and Brazil means they always struggle to be top seeds. They usually make it through the Group Stage, though.

Our third seed is South Korea, which was the second weakest team in its pot. But like Uruguay, South Korea is the third strongest nation (per the rankings) from its confederation.

As for Ghana, it may not be the outright outsiders at the tournament, but it is the lowest ranked side who is taking part. The relative weakness of this group explains why Ghana has not been written off entirely already.

CONTENTS

World Cup Group H Table, Fixtures & Odds

TeamPWDLGFGAGDPts
Portugal110032+13
Ghana100123-10
Uruguay10100001
South Korea10100001

Group H Match Schedule

DateMatchTime (ET)Stadium
Thur, Nov. 24Uruguay vs. South Korea8 a.m.Education City Stadium
Thur, Nov. 24Portugal vs. Ghana11 a.m.Stadium 974
Mon, Nov. 28South Korea vs. Ghana8 a.m.Education City Stadium
Mon, Nov. 28Portugal vs. Uruguay2 p.m.Lusail Stadium
Fri, Dec. 2Ghana vs. Uruguay10 a.m.Al Janoub Stadium
Fri, Dec. 2South Korea vs. Portugal10 a.m.Education City Stadium

With two teams strongly expected to get through the group, there is no stand-out fixture here. The clash between Portugal and Uruguay feels the most intriguing for two reasons: it should decide who wins the group, and it will feature the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. Each side will have a Liverpool forward, too, with Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez likely to be involved.

Speaking of Suarez, his presence will add spice to his country’s match with Ghana on Dec. 2. His handball on the goal line in their meeting in the 2010 quarterfinal enabled Uruguay to take the game to penalties. They knocked out Ghana, who will be gunning for revenge. It could get feisty.

World Cup Group H Odds

TeamGroup WinnerQualify From Group
Portugal-400-2500
Uruguay+400-190
Korea Republic+100+175
Ghana+3300+450
Odds Provided by BetMGM - Subject to Change

In some groups at the World Cup, the interest is created by the second and third priced teams being very closely priced. But here, the two outsiders are evenly matched.

Ghana and South Korea are both +225 to reach the knockout phase. To put this in context, only four of the other seven groups have a third or fourth favorite at this price or lower, never mind two. This means both have roughly a 29 percent chance of getting through, which is not bad at all for the longshot option.

And this has a knock-on effect throughout the group. Portugal might have over an 80 percent chance of qualifying, but they’re the longest price of the favorites from the eight sections of the draw, at -700. As hefty as that price is, this is a value bet compared to their peers.

In that sense, Uruguay is also worth a look even though it is -190. They are the third strongest team from South America and have made the knockout phase at the last three World Cups.

World Cup Group H Draw

Portugal

Since becoming champions of Europe in 2016, Portugal hasn't done very well in the main competitions. Granted, they did win the inaugural Nations League in 2019, but a tournament UEFA invented to largely replace friendlies is hardly the most important.

The Portuguese went out in the Round of 16 at both the last World Cup and European Championship. With Switzerland their likely opponents at that stage in Qatar, they may improve on those showings at the World Cup. It’s hard to establish a solid case that they can go too much further, though.

Portugal had to go through the playoffs to reach the tournament, having only taken one point against Serbia and finishing behind them in their group as a result. History shows that only one in four European teams who take that route reach the quarterfinals, with one in seven making it to the last four.

A lot will depend upon the form of their two main forwards once the World Cup gets underway. Cristiano Ronaldo got six goals in qualifying, while Diogo Jota scored five. But at the time of writing, the former’s future is unclear, while the latter may get superseded at Liverpool by Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan striker will clearly have a say in Portugal’s World Cup chances in direct fashion too.  

Uruguay

Two-time champion Uruguay is unlikely to repeat the World Cup triumphs it enjoyed in 1930 and 1950. They have reached the knockout phase in five of their last six appearances, though, and will be confident of doing so in Qatar. Indeed, they knocked Portugal out in the Round of 16 four years ago.

Their qualification process went largely as you would expect even if you just had to guess. Uruguay lost home and away to Brazil and Argentina but were only beaten in two of their other 14 matches.

Yet despite a record which initially looks decent enough, they had issues at both ends of the pitch. Bolivia finished second bottom of the CONMEBOL qualification table yet outscored Uruguay by one. Manager Diego Alonso – who replaced the legendary Oscar Tabarez during qualifying – should also be concerned that his side conceded as many goals as they scored.

In fairness, they won six and drew one of their first seven matches under Alonso, with a 16-1 goals differential. Uruguay has a good blend of youth and experience too, with the likes of Nunez and Federico Valverde supplemented by Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin and Luis Suarez.

They are unlikely to match their semifinal showing from 2010, though, particularly as they look set to face Brazil in the next round.

Ghana

Ghana did not qualify for the last World Cup. Their involvement in the previous two were ended by teams they will face in Qatar.

The far more notorious case was their loss to Uruguay in 2010, thanks in part to Suarez’ deliberate handball. But their Group Stage exit four years later was confirmed by a 2-1 loss to Portugal and a late winner from Ronaldo.

Of far greater concern will be their woeful Africa Cup of Nations campaign earlier this year. They were beaten 3-2 by tournament debutants Comoros and finished at the bottom of their group. However, they recovered well from that to defeat World Cup regulars Nigeria on away goals in the qualification playoff.

A total of eight goals in eight qualifying matches sums up their problem, particularly as half of their tally came against Zimbabwe (123rd in the Rankings). Andre Ayew scored three and looks to be their main threat. The 32-year-old has played for the likes of Marseille and West Ham in the past but is now with Al Sadd in Qatar.

Ghana did not win its one previous meeting with either Portugal or Uruguay. They look unlikely to prevail against them here too.

South Korea

There obviously won’t be many countries at the World Cup who have a reigning Golden Boot winner from a top European League in their ranks. South Korea is one that will.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min scored 23 goals in the Premier League last season to share the top scorer award with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. He was also South Korea’s most productive player in qualification, having scored seven times.

Yet their greater strength lies in defense. The South Koreans conceded just four goals in their 16 qualification matches and only three in 14 prior to securing their spot in Qatar. Center back Kim Min-jae moved from Fenerbahce to Napoli (to replace Kalidou Koulibaly) in the summer and will be their key man at the back.

South Korea’s six matches with Ghana have all been friendlies, with the teams sharing three wins apiece. The victor when they meet on Nov. 28 will be the only of the two who might be able to defeat expectations and reach the next round.

South Korea’s two previous World Cup meetings with Uruguay ended in defeat, but it did beat Portugal in 2002. That came with home advantage, though, and a repeat is not in the cards.

World Cup Group H Favorites

As with the odds to reach the next stage, Ghana and South Korea are the same price to win this group: +900, making them roughly nine percent shots. The fact this is a relatively weak group, as top two seeds go, perhaps gives them a remote chance.

However, history is not on their side. Ghana has never topped a World Cup group, and the only time South Korea did was in 2002 when it was on home turf. Neither team was overly dominant in qualifying, so it’s unlikely they will upset the odds here.

The interest will come down to the battle between Portugal (-145, 53 percent chance of topping the group) and Uruguay (+200, 30 percent). Ahead of the tournament, the former is +110 to win its match with the South Americans. Uruguay is +270 to triumph.

It's worth noting that these teams met in the Round of 16 at the last World Cup. Portugal was also favorites for that match (albeit at longer odds), but Uruguay won 2-1 and knocked them out.

The Portuguese were ranked fourth in the world then too. As they only reached Qatar via the playoffs, a bet on Uruguay to top Group G could be a sensible selection.

Teams That Advance From World Cup Group H

The top two teams in Group H will be matched with the best sides from G. As outright favorites, Brazil is in that section, so it will be imperative to top this group.

If the seedings play out as they should, this means Portugal will face Switzerland in the final Round of 16 match on Dec. 6. Winning that match will likely set up a tie with Belgium or Germany, so even finishing first in Group H is no guarantee of an easy passage through the draw.

Assuming Uruguay is the runner-up in this section, it will probably face an all-South American clash with Brazil. Their interest in the action in Qatar may well end there.

World Cup Group H FAQ

What are the World Cup groups?

Group A: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar

Group B: England, USA, Wales, Iran

Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D: France, Denmark, Australia, Tunisia

Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica

Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada

Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana, South Korea

How many teams will there be in Qatar in 2022?

The World Cup will be the final edition to feature 32 teams, as a further 16 will make it to the massively expanded 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Split into eight groups of four, Europe is the most heavily represented continent with 13 countries in Qatar.

Who will win the World Cup?

It’s been 60 years since a country retained the World Cup, and it had only occurred once prior to that. France undoubtedly has the credentials to achieve this rare feat though.

Didier Deschamps’ side are second favorites to win the World Cup, at +600. It’s Brazil (+475) who lead the betting, though, and assuming both top their groups, the two nations cannot meet before the final.

Behind them in the outright odds are Argentina, England (both +700), Spain (+800) and Germany (+900). But as France has elite quality throughout its side and an abundance of riches up front, it will be very hard to stop.

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