Hello! It’s the final day of group games as we finally see Group H in action. With two former CM Cup winners plus a debutant and a blog squad member, there’s narrative aplenty to get stuck into. Let’s meet the managers.
Rob Tait has the plum draw of Portugal in this group. They have the biggest and best pool of players available compared to their group rivals and are managed by a man who lead Spain to success in 2020. You’d be looking at long odds to bet on them not advancing today. Debutant Liam has the rather poorer draw of Ghana. It’s not great at all, I won’t lie to you. Another former champion, Dan Williamson, has Uruguay. Dan’s got an affiliation with South American football so I suspect he will be quite pleased. The final participant here and a third blog squad member is Philip, our Belgian friend. He’s got Wales, who have a few gems but lack depth and fundamentally talent.
Ghana vs Portugal
Liam’s picked this relatively adventurous formation, ironically you will see it again shortly. A lot riding on Tony Yeboah here, you feel.
What were the chances? Almost identical setups. This Portugese side has mant options.
Oh hello! Fernando Couto puts through his own goal to put the cat amongst the pigeons early on. Original CM Legend Nii Lamptey doubles Ghana’s advantage and the football world is stunned. It looks like Liam’s lads have done enough but Rui Costa halves the deficit on 78 minutes. That seems to stir something in Joao Pinto at the very least who scores a quickfire double. Three goals in 7 minutes is ridiculous but it’s done the job.
Wait until you see the stats…
Ghana were great. So unfortunate that Portugal decided to play in the last 12 minutes.
Can Uruguay and Wales live up to that?
Uruguay vs Wales
It’s the classic formation for Dan. Ruben Sosa is given all the responsibility.
Philip looks to have borrowed from Nikolai. It’s all about trying to get 4 of the front 5 into the game. Ian Rush is the odd one out, if you were wondering.
Hartson gives Wales the lead but Neville Southall is unfortunate to put through his own goal. Despite losing Rob Page to injury the game ends a draw.
Wales about shaded it but a draw is about fair, there wasn’t much between them.
Montero getting man of the match for having to wrestle John Hartson all day.
On we go to the second set of games.
Portugal vs Uruguay
More of the same from Rob after that escapologist act in game 1.
Dario Silva is in for Dan.
Uruguay strike first! It takes just two minutes for Otero to open the scoring. Rob must be wondering why his side are like this but a burst of 3 goals in 10 minutes turns the game right around. Cadete with 2 and Joao Pinto with the other. Perdomo pulls one back just after half time but then incredibly, Portugal outdo themselves and score 4 goals in 10 minutes. It’s a ridiculous scoreline, Uruguay enjoyed their fair share of the play but turned up in two 10 minute spells
Portugal’s forward players rated well. Montero from hero to zero.
Look at the shots…50/50 overall but 7-2 in goals. That’s so harsh on Dan.
That’s actually Portugal through. Wales or Ghana can make a real claim for second now.
Wales vs Ghana
Symons for Page for Philip.
Nothing to change for Ghana.
Big John strikes early again! Ghana find Neville Southall in great form but they eventually beat him on 38 minutes. A draw would keep both teams in the tournament but Mark Hughes pounces to eliminate Ghana, despite Speed’s late red card.
Big Nev takes man of the match, a heroic performance.
He made 9 saves, it’s fair. Ghana have played great football in two games and are so unfortunate to be out.
Let’s see the table as it stands.
Uruguay need a big win against Ghana to stand any chance, or any win and hope Wales take a hammering off Rob.
Ghana vs Uruguay
Tanko is in for the injured Yeboah.
More of the same from Dan except a change in goal where Ferro is in for Mr No Hands.
Ghana are at it again! Another blistering start sees them go 2-0 up. This was not in the script. Dan’s lads just about pull themselves together and manage to level up before half time. Dario Silva gives them the lead and Otero seals it. It’s a win, not a big win, but it keeps them alive.
Ghana have racked up the shots but have so little to show for some strong performances.
Otero takes man of the match, somewhat controversially over 2 goal hero Dario Silva.
Right then, Philip need to avoid losing by 4.
Wales vs Portugal
No Rob Page still so Philip is unchanged.
Rob has lost patience with Luis Figo. Sergio Conceicao is in.
Speed opens the scoring for Wales and that takes the pressure off completely. Have Portugal got 5 goals in them? Rui Costa equalises from the spot, Mark Hughes gets sent off and Cadete wins the game. But this defeat is like a win – the Welsh advance.
They were battered…
Neville getting man of the match again.
Confirmation of how the group finishes:
Here we have the last 16 draw, top half and bottom half. It hasn’t all gone exactly to the seedings so there’s some tricky ties in there. There are some potentially huge quarter final ties as you would expect but let’s see how the last 16 plays out over the next two days.
The top half will be in tomorrow’s blog so set your alarms for then. Goodbye for now!