World Cup 2022 preview: Group H

We take a closer look at Group H, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, dark horses Uruguay, and underdogs South Korea and Ghana.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 18 November 2022 - 2.51pm

Portugal and Uruguay will have aspirations of reaching the latter stages of World Cup 2022 and both head into the tournament as the obvious favourites to progress from Group H.

Son Heung-min's South Korea will have different ideas, though, and Ghana will be out for revenge after their infamous last meeting with Uruguay in 2010.

Here's how each team reached the finals, as well as insight into their best players, manager and strengths and weaknesses.

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Group H

Portugal

Portugal

FIFA ranking: 9th

Squad's top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo - 117 goals / 191 apps

World Cup qualifying position: Play-off winners against North Macedonia (UEFA)

Best World Cup finish: Third place (1966)

Route to qualification:

After losing to Serbia in cruel fashion and missing out on automatic qualification in the process, Portugal beat Turkey and then North Macedonia to qualify via the play-offs, the latter win coming courtesy of two goals from Bruno Fernandes.

Star man:

Fernandes is one the best No 10s at the tournament despite the sometimes up-and-down nature of his performances with Manchester United.

Manager:

Fernando Santos has been criticised for a style that is seen uninspiring at times and doesn't fully utilise the attacking players at his disposal. He has been in charge for eight years and has secured silverware in the form of Euro 2016 and the 2019 Nations League, but it's almost certain that the team will return trophyless on this occasion. 

Strengths:

The energy and delivery provided by Nuno Mendes and Joao Cancelo is important in the creation of a lot of the side's chances, while Rafael Leao heads to Qatar in exciting form and Cristiano Ronaldo nearly always delivers for his country, despite heading for the Manchester United exit door

Weaknesses:

Joao Felix and Andre Silva are both out of form and favour respectively at club level, but may be relied on more than expected if something happens to Ronaldo or Leao. 

Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal

Uruguay

Uruguay

FIFA ranking: 14th

Squad's top scorer: Luis Suarez - 68 goals / 134 apps

World Cup qualifying position: 3rd (CONMEBOL)

Best World Cup finish: Winners (1930, 1950)

Route to qualification:

Uruguay qualified with a game to spare from their South American group, but were significantly adrift of Argentina and Brazil.

Star man:

In a very strong XI, Federico Valverde stands out, with the Real Madrid midfielder possessing bundles of energy, superb vision and a blistering strike. 

Manager:

Former Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso has been in charge since December last year, following in the footsteps of Oscar Tabarez's 15-year reign. Inheriting a team in difficulty, he won four qualifying games on the spin as the Sky Blue successfully navigated their way to Qatar.

Strengths:

The pairing of Rodrigo Bentancur and the in-form Valverde is formidable, with Lucas Torreira ready to step in should either player need to be withdrawn. Edinson Cavani is also finding the net again at Valencia, while the defence has been solid under Alonso. 

Weaknesses:

Somewhat surprisingly, Uruguay didn't score loads in qualifying and the reliance on 35-year-olds Cavani and Luis Suarez, playing together at their fourth World Cups, could come back to bite them. Darwin Nunez will hope to step up in Qatar.

Darwin Nunez - Uruguay

Ghana

Ghana

FIFA ranking: 61st

Squad's top scorer: Andre Ayew - 23 goals / 109 apps

World Cup qualifying position: Third round play-off winners against Nigeria (CAF)

Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (2010)

Route to qualification:

Ghana only saw off South Africa on goals scored to reach the play-offs, knocking out Nigeria on away goals thanks to Thomas Partey's opener in the return leg in Abuja. 

Star man:

Partey provides robustness and quality on the ball as well as experience for the Black Stars, while his goals record of 14 in 40 caps is superior to his strike rate at club level with Arsenal, or previously Atletico Madrid.

Manager:

Otto Addo took over on a caretaker basis ahead of the Nigeria play-off in place of Milovan Rajevac, who was sacked after the country's poor AFCON showing, where they finished bottom of a group containing Morocco, Gabon and Comoros. 

Strengths:

The targeting of dual-nationality players has paid off massively, with Addo able to call on Tariq Lamptey, Inaki Williams and Bristol City forward Antoine Semenyo. Ghana have an abundance of quality centre-backs, including Southampton's Mohammed Salisu, Strasbourg's Alexander Djiku and Celta Vigo's Joseph Aidoo, while Mohammed Kudus has shone for Ajax in the Champions League despite their elimination and winger Kamaldeen Sulemana is impressing for high-flying Rennes. 

Weaknesses:

No proven goalscorer, as with many countries, is an issue, while an injury to Partey could leave Ghana exposed in the middle of the park. 

Mohammed Kudus - Ghana

South Korea

South Korea

FIFA ranking: 28th

Squad's top scorer: Son Heung-min - 35 goals / 104 apps

World Cup qualifying position: 2nd in Group A (AFC)

Best World Cup finish: Fourth Place (2002)

Route to qualification:

South Korea breezed through their opening group before finishing second behind Iran in the next phase of qualifying - but still comfortably made it through automatically. 

Star man:

Son Heung-min is the captain and record goalscorer, so South Korea's hopes of making it to the knockout phase since 2002 will likely hinge on whether he returns to fitness in time to play or not after fracturing an eye socket against Marseille earlier this month.

Manager:

Former Portugal boss Paulo Bento has been in charge of the Tigers of Asia since 2018, when he succeeded Shin tae-Yong who stepped down after the last World Cup.

Strengths:

South Korea have a miserly defence, thanks in large part to the presence of Napoli star Kim Min-jae, who has earned rave reviews since his move from Fenerbahce to Italy in the summer. The team are comfortable keeping the ball but are also capable of playing on the counter-attack with Son and Wolves' Hwang Hee-chan on opposite flanks. 

Weaknesses:

Son's absence would be a huge blow to the team, while an injury to Kim could also prove problematic. Blips against Iraq and the UAE may also give hope to Group H opponents. 

Son Heung-min - South Korea