Two days after his tumultuous departure from Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo will start his World Cup marketing campaign with Portugal and can search to place the occasions of the previous week and a half behind him.

Portugal tackle Ghana at Stadium 974 on Thursday, kicking off what is going to doubtless be the 37-year-old Ronaldo’s final World Cup – a trophy that has up to now eluded him throughout his adorned profession .

A profitable match in Qatar would additionally see Ronaldo out of his messy divorce from United after ending his second stint on the membership on Tuesday.

It got here after the striker gave an explosive interview to Discuss TV through which he stated he felt betrayed by United and launched a scathing assault on supervisor Erik ten Hag.

And because the World Cup begins, Ronaldo ensured his Portuguese team-mates’ consideration wouldn’t be shaken by the timing of his explosive interview.

“In my life, one of the best timing is at all times my timing,” he instructed reporters on Monday. “I haven’t got to consider what different individuals assume. I discuss once I need. The gamers have recognized me very properly for a few years and know the kind of particular person I’m.

Following the announcement of his departure from Manchester United, Ronaldo was suspended for 2 video games and fined £50,000 (roughly $60,000) by the English Soccer Affiliation (FA) for snatching a cell phone from palms of a spectator earlier this yr.

The incident got here after United’s 1-0 loss to April at Everton. In addition to the advantageous and suspension – which doesn’t apply to the World Cup however can be transferred to any new membership he joins – Ronaldo has been warned by the FA about his future conduct.

Portugal are heavy favorites towards Ghana with 52 locations separating the groups within the FIFA rankings.

However pedigree and star energy appear to rely for little on this World Cup, a match through which underdogs have fared properly towards extra highly effective opponents.

Saudi Arabia got here from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 whereas Japan did the identical towards Germany – clear indicators that no workforce ought to be underestimated, nor ought to any workforce should not give in to complacency.

Having not reached the quarter-finals of a World Cup since 2006, Portugal have some extent to show in Qatar and are available to the match with appreciable firepower.

Regardless of the absence of Liverpool striker Diogo Jota by way of damage, Ronaldo, his former United team-mate Bruno Fernandes and Manchester Metropolis stars João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are all prone to function on Thursday.

Dealing with them, a Ghanaian workforce wanting kind however not missing in high quality.

Having been knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations after a humiliating group stage loss to Comoros in January, the Black Stars will profit from the ‘signings’ of striker Inaki Williams and right-back Tariq Lamptey forward of the sport. match.

Williams switched allegiance from Spain earlier this yr and Lamptey from England.

Otto Addo – the match’s solely part-time supervisor – additionally has star midfielder Mohammed Kudus and skilled campaigners together with Thomas Partey and brothers Ayew, Jordan and Andre at his disposal.

It stays to be seen whether or not Addo, who primarily works as a scout for German aspect Borussia Dortmund, could make Ghana click on.

Uruguay and South Korea are additionally in Group H, which play one another on the Training Metropolis Stadium on Thursday.

Uruguay are the favorites and can profit from the expertise of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez may also function within the assault, whereas midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde have been in glorious type of late.

The excellent news for South Korea is that star participant Son Heung-Min recovered from a broken eye socket and skilled with a protecting masks this week.

In Thursday’s different video games, pre-tournament favorites Brazil and Serbia would be the final two groups to kick off their tournaments after they meet at Lusail Stadium.

5-time champions Brazil have arguably one of the best attacking line-up within the match, each when it comes to high quality and depth.

Neymar Jr – like fellow talismans Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – is within the hunt for his first World Cup trophy, and he can be ably backed alongside Actual Madrid’s Vinicius Jr., Barcelona’s Raphinha and Everton’s Richarlison.

Neymar (centre) is training with Brazil in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

However Serbia, who topped their qualifying group forward of Portugal, can be no pushover and have loads of goalscoring prowess with captain Dušan Tadić, Juventus striker Dušan Vlahović and Fulham chief Aleksandar Mitrovic. Nonetheless, each Vlahović and Mitrovic nursed accidents previous to the match.

Hoping to succeed in the knockout phases of a World Cup for the primary time, Serbia will doubtless must battle Switzerland and Cameroon, who meet on Thursday, to succeed in the spherical of 16 – barring disastrous outcomes for Brazil.

However as this World Cup has demonstrated up to now, do not rule something out.

Switzerland vs Cameroon – 5 a.m. EST

Uruguay vs. South Korea – 8 a.m. ET

Portugal vs Ghana – 11 a.m. ET

Brazil vs Serbia – 2 p.m. ET

United States: Fox Sports activities


Australia: SBS

Brazil: Sport TV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa: SABC

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