Thursday World Cup Preview | Favourites Brazil begin 2022 quest alongside three more fixtures

Group G and Group H will be played in full today as another four games are set to take place, starting from 10am.

Day five of the 2022 FIFA World Cup takes place today with the remaining two groups getting their tournaments up and running.

Wednesday opened with the third 0-0 in a 24-hour period as Croatia and Morocco shared the spoils. Chances were few and far between but a draw was a fair result in the end with both teams flattering to deceive at times.

That game was followed up by yet another World Cup shock as Japan were 2-1 winners over 2014 champions Germany. It was the Germans that opened the scoring with Ilkay Gundogan converting from the spot as they dominated the first half. The game turned on its head after the interval and Japan completed an impressive comeback with goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano to give them the three points.

To make up for the earlier 0-0, Spain treated fans to a 7-0 demolition of Costa Rica. It’s been the most convincing performance of any nation so far, with Espana three to the good at half-time with goals from Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres. They continued their rout in the second half with Torres doubling his tally while Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata also got in on the act to make a statement towards the other nations.

The evening was rounded off with a 1-0 victory for Belgium, although the score-line doesn’t tell the exact story. Canada were by far the better team and had an opportunity to go 1-0 up within ten minutes but Alphonso Davies missed from the penalty spot. Belgium pounced just before half-time through Michy Batshuayi and it would be the only goal of the gam despite Canada enjoying 22 shots.

As the World Cup journey continues, here are Thursday’s fixtures in full.

Switzerland v Cameroon (10am)

Group G’s opener sees Switzerland take on Cameroon in the first kick-off of the day on Thursday.

Both teams face the tough task of having the #1 ranked nation in the world Brazil within their group so they’ll be aware that every point on offer is as valuable as can be.

The Swiss enter the competition off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Ghana last week but won’t be dwelling on the result too much but more the benefits of getting a run-out before the hectic tournament schedule. Cameroon, on the other hand, were held to a 1-1 draw against Panama.

It’s Cameroon’s first appearance in the World Cup since 2014 and the first time in history these two sides go head-to-head, setting up an interesting tie.

Uruguay v South Korea (1pm)

Kicking off the final group is Uruguay and South Korea as they get group H up and running.

Uruguay are definitely one of the teams to keep an eye on this year and will be introducing a handful of players that weren’t present at the 2018 edition such as Darwin Nunez, who’s been backed by many to clinch the Golden Boot.

They face a South Korea side that will be blessed with the return of Heung-Min Son as they look to build on their positive 2018 campaign, despite failing to make it out of their group.

La Celeste definitely possess more game-changers and more experienced players such as Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez but there’s never an easy game at the World Cup.

Portugal v Ghana (4pm)

Portugal begin their campaign against the lowest ranked nation in the tournament in Ghana.

The game will be blighted with the recent news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United with the Portuguese legend mutually agreeing to terminate his contract with the Red Devils.

He’ll be looking to do his talking on the pitch as he leads a Portugal side that have been written off by many ahead of the tournament compared to the other nations taking part.

Ghana will have revenge on their mind as it was Portugal that confirmed their exit in 2014 with a 2-1 victory in the final group game.

It will be interesting to see how Portgual shape up considering the antics of their captain in recent weeks.

Brazil v Serbia (7pm)

Thursday draws to a close with the highly anticipated clash between Brazil and tournament dark-horses Serbia.

Selecao have been regarded as the tournament favourites, especially now in the aftermath of Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia and will be conscious of the threat that Serbia may possess.

It’s the second consecutive tournament that both nation have been placed in the same group, with Brazil sending Serbia home in Matchday 3 in 2018 thanks to goals from Paulinho and veteran centre-back Thiago Silva.

But Serbia won’t be an easy ride for Brazil and will cause them problems. Aleksandar Mitrovic is on fine form ahead of the tournament and Dusan Vlahovic is capable of moments of quality as he’s proved before.

Expect a brilliant game of football to round off the night with the superstars of Brazil ready to light up the tournament.

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