World Cup pre-game: Portugal vs. Ghana

Both Ghana and Portugal have to win and hope the Americans lose to Germany. Coverage starts at 11:30 ET on Sportsnet and

Both need a win and German help

Portugal says captain Cristiano Ronaldo is fit and ready to go for Thursday's match against Ghana at the FIFA World Cup. His late-game heroics against the U.S. kept Portugal's slim chances alive. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Group G: Portugal vs. Ghana

  • Noon pm ET, Thursday June 26 
  • CBC TV, streaming online at

What’s at stake

It’s complicated, kind of.

Both of these teams have to win and hope the Americans lose to Germany. But Portugal’s goal difference is -4, whereas the Germans are +4 and the Americans are +1. Portugal has a scoring mountain to climb.

Ghana has a goal difference of -1, meaning they have a slightly brighter hope than Portugal. Winning this game and seeing Germany win as well will get the Black Stars through.

Impact players

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo. He may (or may not) have a sore knee, but he’s still incredibly valuable. That game-winning crossing ball against the Americans was a thing of beauty.

Ghana: Asamoah Gyan. His goal against the Germany puts him equal on World Cup goals — five in total — with legendary African footballer Roger Milla.

What to watch for

Ronaldo is a formidable playmaker and striker. Ghana needs to neutralize him, while not forgetting about his potent teammates Nani and Verela.

Ghana has a match-fixing cloud hovering over their football federation and a controversy over bonus payments. This shouldn't affect their players, but they have to be at their best to beat a resurgent Portugal.

They said it

''We're depending on third parties. 'We're depending on results of other teams.'' — Portugal’s manager Paulo Bento told reporters in looking to his third game.

''I always believe that the best way to defend is to attack.'' — Ghana’s manager Kwesi Appiah talking to media about his defensive game plan.

The big number

1 — Portugal has won only one of their last eight World Cup games: a 7-0 thumping of North Korea in 2010. They’ve drawn three and lost four in addition to this win.