Portugal coach Paulo Bento has plenty of selection worries ahead of today's decisive match against Ghana, as he will probably have to make do without the services of a number of regulars. Fabio Coentrao was forced to pull out of the squad after the loss against Germany, while Rui Patricio, Hugo Almeida, Andre Almeida and Helder Postiga have also been plagued by injury problems since the start of the tournament.
Beto is therefore expected to start between the sticks again while Miguel Veloso could fill in at left-back, thus making room for William Carvalho to start in midfield - although Ricardo Costa also remains an option in defence. With both Postiga and Hugo Almeida unlikely to be match-fit in time, Eder is expected to feature from the start this time around after coming off the bench in Portugal’s previous two group stage matches.
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah, meanwhile, has no noteworthy injury problems as the Africans aim to book their ticket for the round of 16 after a disappointing start to the tournament. Kevin-Prince Boateng and John Boye picked up minor knocks in the draw versus Germany, yet both have been given the green light for the match against Portugal. Appiah will have to make at least one change to his starting line-up however, as AC Milan’s Sulley Muntari is unavailable due to suspension, following his two yellow cards earlier in the competition.
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His position will be taken by either Michael Essien or Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, with the former sitting in pole position to feature from the start. Furthermore, Appiah will have to choose between either Boateng or Abdul Majeed Waris, who has recovered from injury to partner Asamoah Gyan in attack.
This will be the first ever meeting between Portugal and Ghana.
Portugal’s World Cup record against African sides is balanced with one win (v Angola in 2006), one draw (v Ivory Coast in 2010) and one defeat (v Morocco in 1986).
Portugal have won only one of their last nine World Cup games (Drawn-4 Lost-4).
Asamoah Gyan has equalled Roger Milla’s record for most World Cup goals by an African player, they both have five.
Portugal have failed to score in six of their last nine World Cup matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just two World Cup goals despite attempting 62 shots (including blocked).
Nani’s goal against USA was the first scored by Portugal in the World Cup in 276 minutes.
Portugal recorded a pass accuracy of 88.08% against USA; their best rate in a World Cup match from 1966 onwards.
Ghana are without a World Cup clean sheet in six matches.
Ghana have failed to win any of their last four World Cup group games (Drawn-2 Lost-2).