Fernando affirmed that his team are the favourite to win Group H, but he insists that Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea will not be underestimated.
Following the 2022 World Cup draw in Doha on Friday, the former European champions learned that they will face Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea in Qatar.
“There are no easy groups, there are difficult groups. It’s the draw. We have football from three continents in this group, four from Europe. It’s with that expectation that I see this draw. Ghana and South Korea are teams we know less well, we have to pay close attention. We already faced Uruguay in the last World Cup [Portugal was eliminated in the round of 16]. It’s a normal draw,” said Santos who guided Portugal to Euros success in 2016.
About Portugal’s eventual favouritism in the group, the coach said: “We can look at the glass as half full or half empty. If we looked at the previous World Cup, Uruguay would be the favourite. If we look at the rankings, then Portugal is the favourite. But we can’t forget about Ghana and South Korea, who have had a very strong path. Paulo Bento has had a very strong path with South Korea.”
Portugal enters the competition a few days later (the tournament starts on the 21st and the National Team debuts only on the 24th of November with Ghana). This, yes, is good news, according to Fernando Santos, given the busy schedule of players in their clubs until they join their national teams.
“The fact that we start playing at 24 can avoid questions. In that aspect, the draw was good, because playing at 21, with players theoretically only at 14, and with many games on top, it wouldn’t be the best to start,” concluded the coach.
The clash with Ghana will be a repeat of the 2014 group stage meeting in Brazil which the Portugueses won 2-1 thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal.