Johanneburg – The World Cup starts in Qatar on Sunday with a match between the hosts and Ecuador (6pm SA time kick-off).
Independent Media continues its breakdown of the various groups. Group H may be the last group but certainly not the least, with pundits dubbing it the ‘Group of Death’.
Here, Mihlali Baleka takes us through how the group is likely to pan out.
Ghana have been Africa’s World
Cup flag bearers in recent years, with Africa as a whole fully behind ‘BaGhana BaGhana’ in 2010.
But after a disappointing performance in 2014 and missing out on the 2018 edition, it is time the Black Stars find their groove on the big stage again.
They have an opportunity to avenge their painful 2010 quarterfinal defeat, courtesy of Luis Suarez’s antics at FNB Stadium, when they face Uruguay again 12 years later.
The Uruguayan national team that reached the 2010 semi-finals has largely been replaced, but the pantomime villain Suarez remains ready and available for selection.
Suarez, 35, spent the season in his native Uruguay keeping fit, while he’s still weighing up his club options following the finals in Qatar.
But after most of the seniors left the national team, the responsibility will also lie on fellow veteran Edinson Cavani to drive the South Americans forward.
The Uruguayans have a potent strike force, but their defence and midfield are equally solid.
Is this the swansong? That must be the question Portugal fans are asking as this could be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup.
The 37-year-old has won every available accolade throughout his stellar career, but a World Cup winner’s medal still eludes him.
There are quality players in the Portuguese squad, including his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes and Manchester City’s
Joao Cancelo, who can help ‘CR7’ go out in style.
But they haven’t been in good form of late and will need to hit the ground running in this tightlycontested group.
The Koreans have been regulars in qualifying for the finals, but like their Asian counterparts Japan, they’ve failed to leave their mark in recent years.
And that won’t come easy for them this time either. They are still sweating over the fitness of captain Heung-min Son, who sustained a facial injury at Tottenham Hotspur.
But the Koreans won’t surrender, they’ll believe they can beat any nation they face.