Qatar 2022: Portugal’s Santos inspired by victory over Nigeria, expects ‘trouble’ from Ghana

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has admitted that his team will have a tough time against Ghana this evening in their Qatar 2022 Group H clash at Stadium 974 in Doha, although he takes confidence from the friendly win against Nigeria.

Portugal eased to a comfortable 4-0 win over Ghana’s neighbours Nigeria last week in their friendly in Lisbon before heading off to Qatar, but Santos insists that African teams are not to be taken lightly.

Santos suggested that he will have almost the same line-up to the one that defeated the Super Eagles and attack Ghana the same way.

“In strategic terms, we’re going to have a similar Portugal as against Nigeria. The team will be dynamic and creative,” he said during his pre-match press conference yesterday.

“Ghana are opponents that will give us some trouble. They have great players; we know that. And we have respect for our opponents.

“Today we were watching Croatia versus Morocco, Croatia were favourites, but we didn’t see that, because nowadays the teams are very strong.

“This Ghana team is very well organised and we saw that against Switzerland. If we are not alert, they will punish us.

“The African teams are very talented, they are unpredictable. They have improved. They used to play individually but now play better as a team. The match will be tough for us but we believe we’re going to win.”

The 68-year-old, who led Portugal to their only major trophy when they won the European Championship in 2016, says he is aiming to add the World Cup to his achievements.

Portugal struggled at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and were eliminated in the round of 16.

Santos expects a much better outing in Qatar, banking on a more experienced squad led by the 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It’s important that we do better than we did in 2018. We have the advantage that several players have played these tournaments (2020 Euros and 2018 World Cup),” he adds.

“Many players came to Russia 2018 without a club. It was a difficult situation. Now we have a better situation with the players.

“We have a goal, we know it’s challenging. What we’re proposing to do is to provide joy to the Portuguese people. We feel very strongly since 2016 that football has been great for the Portuguese people. We want to make the people happy, all the rest is nothing.

“I have ambitions to win the World Cup; that’s why we’re here. We’re going to do our very best, we’re very hopeful and confident.”

The match is scheduled to kick off at 5pm Nigerian time.

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