Groups G&H recap of Matchday 1 – Philly Sports

The last first matchday of the Men’s World Cup 2022 ended on Thursday with the first games of Groups G and H! Here’s a look at the eight nations and four games that took place.

World Cup Matchday 1: Groups G & H

DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 24: Richarlison of Brazil scores during the Group G match of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 between Brazil and Serbia at Lusail Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/PxImages/Icon Sportswire)

Group G: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon

Two underdog nations from Europe and Africa started in Group G as Switzerland and Cameroon went head-to-head. The game was balanced, especially in the first half. Possession was close at 50-50 but neither nation found a way to put the ball in the net.

That changed quickly in the second half. A well-worked ball from Switzerland found the feet of their talisman, Xherdan Shaqiri. He selected Breel Embolo’s run, which gave the Swiss a 1-0 lead for the first time in the 48th minute. Embolo was full of emotion when he scored; He refused to celebrate as he was born in Cameroon and just scored against them in a World Cup.

That one goal would make all the difference in the game. Although Cameroon had scoring chances to level the score, they failed to put the finishing touches on it. Switzerland took all three points in the first game against Cameroon.

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Group G: Brazil 2 – 0 Serbia

The last game of the opening day of the 2022 World Cup pitted the main favorites at that World Cup, Brazil, and a European Dark Horse team, Serbia. When the game started, it was clear that Brazil would dominate the ball and defend Serbia for their lives. Brazil dominated the statistics when it came to passing games; Complete 87% of their 582 passes in the game. Serbia had to stop this force by winning their duels; a feat they could only manage 46% of the time and win 11 out of 23.

While the game went unilaterally in Brazil’s favour, they failed to score in the first half. The second half looked the same for the first 15 minutes, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. Brazil fired 22 shots in the game, eight of which were on target, nine were missed and five were blocked by Serbia. They created chance after chance and found the breakthrough in the 62nd minute.

Jogo Bonito is alive and well in this Brazilian side as they passed the ball through Serbia where Richarlison tapped the ball in to put Brazil ahead. About 10 minutes later, Richarlison hit a ball that could end up being the goal of the tournament. Some nice dribbles and passes from Vinicius Junior put the ball in Richarlison’s box. In a brilliant moment, he flicked the ball in the air and smashed an overhead kick past the onrushing Serbian defenders and a diving keeper. The game would end 2-0 for Brazil but they may have to do without their captain Neymar who fell down late in the game with an ankle injury.

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Group G Table

  • 1st – Brazil – 3 pts
  • 2nd – Switzerland – 3 pts
  • 3rd – Cameroon – 0 pts
  • 4th – Serbia – 0 pts

Group H: Uruguay 0 – 0 South Korea

It has been said before this Men’s World Cup that certain nations in Group H could be the dark horse charging in to shock the world. Two of those nations, Uruguay and South Korea, faced each other in their opening game. While both of these teams are viewed as those who could make a run at this World Cup, this game was a tale of missed opportunities.

Uruguay had 10 shots, one on target, seven misses and two blocks; South Korea had seven shots, none on target, six misses and one block. It wasn’t the best game from either side. Uruguay had 0.59 expected goals while South Korea had 0.64; both had great chances to score, which were missed.

Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez and South Korea’s Ui-Jo Hwang both missed great chances in the box. The balls were placed on a plate for them and both took advantage of the opportunities. Both nations shared the points in a goalless tie and will have to look forward to their next few games to score.

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Group H: Portugal 3 – 2 Ghana

The opening day of Group H at this World Cup ended in a spirited match between one of Europe’s best and one of Africa’s best. Portugal met Ghana in a game that took some time to get going but then it was a sprint to the finish.

The first half showed that both teams wanted to exploit spaces on the pitch, but neither side could find their graduation shoes. That changed 25 minutes before the end of the game. Portugal scored the first goal when his talisman Cristiano Ronaldo fired home a penalty in the 65th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Ghana flew across the field and found the equalizer through Andre Ayew.

It was 1-1 with 15 minutes to go, but this game was far from over. Portugal scored two goals in two minutes as Joao Felix and Rafael Leao scored to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Ghana have now opened up even more, now two goals behind. This paid off for them as they scored a second goal in the 89th minute thanks to a header from Osman Bukari. Although there were nine added minutes at the end of that game, Ghana failed to score a third goal to level the game as it ended 3-2 in favor of Portugal.

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Group H Table

  • 1st – Portugal – 3 pts
  • 2nd – South Korea – 1 pt
  • 3rd – Uruguay – 1 pt
  • 4th – Ghana – 0 pts

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Mandatory Credit: Florencia Tan Jun/PxImages/Icon Sportswire

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