Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal deciding the result. Both teams are eliminated as the U.S. losing 1-0 to Germany dropped their goal differential to zero while Portugal only rose to minus-3. Therefore, today’s result only gave Ronaldo and company a reason to smile before heading back to Lisbon.
The team created several chances against Ghana as Ronaldo managed to hit the crossbar, have a header saved from three yards out and scored only once. Their 4-3-3 was too much to handle at times for the Ghanaian outfit as they easily spread the ball, won one-on-one battles and had more ease playing in the opposing half. This was actually the first time they were able to play their game that enabled them to make it to this World Cup. Unfortunately, Ronaldo got going when it was too late.
As for Ghana, this is a team that was without Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng. The former allegedly attacked an executive member of their management while Boateng verbally insulted head coach James Kwesi Appiah. Those two are key members of their midfield and have really inserted their experience until this game. Unfortunately, they were kicked out of the team’s World Cup camp which really left hopes and morale dented heavily.
These two teams were both expected to finish ahead of the United States by many. Instead, Germany won and the U.S. finished behind them with Portugal in third, leaving Ghana dead last with only one point. Ghana were undone by the U.S. defense in the first game and were without two clutch players in today’s game. Portugal clicked too late, the U.S. were tired and the German engine kept running smoothly throughout.
Now Portugal can look forward to their EURO 2016 qualifying campaign which commenced in September against Albania in a group where they are already written favorites to win. Ghana will be taking on Togo in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in a game where they also begin as favorites. Now these two nations can put the World Cup behind them and get a well-deserved rest prior to the new season that commences in a couple of months time.