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(World Cup) Analysis of S. Korea’s competitors in Group H

(World Cup) Analysis of S. Korea’s competitors in Group H

Posted April. 04, 2022 08:57,   

Updated April. 04, 2022 08:57


Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana in Group H for the 2022 World Cup Qatar rank 8th, 13th, 29th and 60th, averaging 27.5, the second lowest ranking average following Group A with 31.75 where Qatar, the host country of the 2022 World Cup, joins. The FIFA assessed that Group H strikes the best balance of the teams’ competence levels out of all the competing groups following the draw results. Saying that Portugal belongs to a “tough” group, it implied that match results are unpredictable although Portugal ranks top in Group H.

○ Portugal

Unlike expectations about its leading in the UEFA Group A, Portugal ranked 2nd, following Serbia, having to win a play-off to grab a ticket to Qatar. Although Portugal outperformed Serbia with a record of 17 goals and six losses in the qualifying round, it lost to Serbia by 1 to 2, being pushed to 2nd place. Despite a stellar lineup of global top players, Portugal has failed to embrace young athletes, only remaining an aging squad. Key players’ excellence in individual playing skills enable speedy offense. However, the team shows ups and downs in performance according to its seasoned members’ playing.

○ Uruguay

Uruguay moved into 3rd place in the qualifying round in South America where the top three go to the World Cup, recording 22 points and 22 losses. When it comes to goal points, it is behind Ecuador in 4th place with 27 points and 19 losses. It has a weak defense. While sustaining a crushing loss to Brazil (1-4) and Argentina (0-3), it lost many goals to Ecuador (2-4) and Bolivia (0-3), being pushed to the verge of being kicked out of the flight to Qatar. It beat up Ghana in the quarterfinal of the 2010 World Cup South Africa to arrive at the semifinal and climbed to the quarterfinal by defeating Portugal in the octofinal round of the 2018 World Cup Russia. Those in glory days still play a key part in the team. Just as Portugal, Uruguay is highly dependent on senior players due to lack of young talents.

○ Ghana

Topping Group G in the second qualifying round in Africa, Ghana fought against Nigeria in the final qualifying match according to draws between the leads of each group. Although holding Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the first and second matches combined, Ghana managed to join Qatar by the away goals rule. It shows a huge gap in performance for every match due to different competence levels of key players and the remainder. Midfield playing is one of its strongest points but it does not boast threatening offense. Ranking lower than South Korea, it won a friendly match by 4 to 0 in 2014.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com