The World Cup 2022 action continues on Thursday, with four more games for soccer fans to sink their teeth into.
Brazil make their debut in Qatar in the final game of the day, before which Switzerland, Uruguay and Portugal will kick-start their campaigns. Here are our tips for the four matches taking place.
The odds for November 24 are from the Caesars sportsbook, which is giving out up to $1250 in free bets at the moment.
Thursday’s opening match is unlikely to be a thriller, with both Switzerland and Cameroon likely to be fearful of the consequences of defeat. One goal may be enough to win this match, and we fancy Switzerland to come out on top.
Cameroon are a decent team: they reached the semi-finals of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (held on home soil) and beat Algeria in the World Cup qualification play-offs. With speed on the flanks and proven goalscorers in the form of Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, they should not be written off.
Switzerland are a wily tournament team, though, and they are better balanced from back to front (Cameroon’s defense is cause for concern). As such, we think they will come out on top here.
For the first time since Copa America 2004, Uruguay head into a major tournament without the legendary Oscar Tabarez in the dugout. The veteran coach was ditched during South America’s qualification process and his successor, Diego Alonso, got the two-time world champions over the line.
Alonso is still searching for the right balance and we do not know whether Uruguay will line up in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-2-2 formation against South Korea. But there is plenty of talent within the squad and a good blend of youth and experience. The main worry is a lack of defensive pace, which South Korea will look to exploit.
Paulo Bento’s side will look to build from the back and keep possession, a strategy that runs counter to the Koreans’ usual emphasis on speed and direct play. With Son Heung-min unlikely to be at his sharpest, Uruguay should prove too strong.
Few squads contain more talent than Portugal’s, but Fernando Santo’s side are not without problems. Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive recent media interview has attracted unwanted attention, while there is an argument that the national team now functions better without the 37-year-old - even though there is little chance of him not starting this match.
Another concern relates to the manager, whose conservative tactics mean he is not a natural fit for a group that is stacked with gifted, technical attackers. Santos may have led Portugal to glory at Euro 2016, but their tournament performances since then have been disappointing.
Still, the Europeans should have enough to get past Ghana. Otto Addo was only appointed as their coach a few months ago, while the likes of Tariq Lamptey, Mohammed Salisu, and Inaki Williams have not played much for the Black Stars after only recently switching their international allegiance.
Brazil, the pre-tournament favorites, will have had to sit and watch 30 other teams begin their campaigns before they finally get started on Thursday. Supporters of the Selecao will hope that Tite’s side are worth the wait.
Brazil certainly look to be in good shape. They have a team that is not only full of quality but also well-balanced, with a couple of different tactical options depending on the strength of the opponent. The fact that Vinicius Junior, Gabriel Jesus, and Rodrygo will be on the bench here says all about the depth of their attacking talent.
Serbia have a strong frontline too, but the fact they are likely to play an open game could work in Brazil’s favor. Expect the five-time world champions to get off to a winning start at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Dates: November 20 - December 18
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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