Portugal vs. Ghana: Form Guide, Live Stream and Prediction for 2014 World Cup

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo takes a shot during the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Portugal at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal look to save their World Cup participation as they face Ghana in the final match of Group G on Thursday.

The European nation will hope that Germany or USA can inflict a heavy defeat on each other, opening the door for a goalscoring victory to edge Ronaldo and company into the knockout round. 

However, if USA v Germany finishes in a draw, they will both qualify from the group regardless of what happens between Portugal and Ghana.

Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

Here is how you can watch this vital final group match, with form guide and predictions:


When: Thursday, June 26, at 5 p.m. BST (12 p.m. ET)

Where: Brasilia, Brazil

TV: BBC HD (UK only); ESPN (US only)

Live Stream: BBC iPlayer (UK only); ESPN Player (US only) 


Portugal v Ghana: Form Guide
TeamLast Five Games


Ronaldo Fails Where Messi Succeeds?

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

It is the eternal debate: Which player will be remembered as the current generation's greatest footballer? But so far, at the Brazilian World Cup, Lionel Messi is winning the boxing match with Cristiano Ronaldo by a margin.

The Argentina wizard has dragged his nation to two group victories with two prized goals oozing with drama and breathtaking class.

However, Ronaldo has also now got in on the act with a world-class cross, deep into injury-time, leading to the goal that saved Portugal's tournament, against USA.

The late individual piece of genius from Ronaldo led the Mail Online's Adam Crafton to recognise the arrival of CR7 at the tournament.

The reporter tweeted:

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Real Madrid attacker has clearly not been fit for some time as he struggles to find form after a knee injury that nearly ruined the end of his campaign for his club.

But Portugal have shown they are half a team without him—so a half-fit Ronaldo is better than a fully fit replacement.

Portugal know that the gloves must now come off in their final match and only a convincing victory against a tough Ghana side will see them stand a chance of progressing.

The pressure on Ronaldo is immense but this is not something that usually fazes him. He enjoys the spotlight and the attention but on one leg he is restricted, both physically and mentally.

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Even if CR7 pulls out the performance of a lifetime, it might not be enough if USA and Germany end their match in a draw, but the player needs a great game to cement his reputation on the biggest stage of all.

At 29 years old, it is likely that Ronaldo will get a shot at one last World Cup, in Russia, but he will be past his prime and will be acutely aware of this at present.

Thursday will not be the end for Ronaldo in his war with Messi but it could be the day where the Portugal master falls permanently behind his footballing foe, once again. 



Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The form of both of these teams is erratic at best, but Ghana proved against Germany they can be a force against any side, if they are in the mood.

Paulo Bento, meanwhile, was not happy after his Portugal team's draw and performance against USA. He said, per BBC Sport:

It's clearly not a good result for us. The 2-2 doesn't put us out of the World Cup mathematically, but it does leave us in a very difficult situation. Not just because of what we'll need to do against Ghana, but also because we'll need a favourable result from the Germany-United States game.

In Nani and Ronaldo, the Portuguese have the trickery to beat their African opponents but it is highly questionable if they can accumulate a huge score to push them to qualification.

The fear factor surrounding the result will more likely benefit Ghana who simply will not attract the same pressures as their European opponents.

After a dismal tournament, Portugal have the potential to implode and make it a rare and unhappy stain on Cristiano's memory of his career.

With Asamoah Gyan finding his shooting boots in the previous match against the Germans, the game could turn out to be a shock win, and possible qualification, for Ghana.

Prediction: Ghana win 1-0