Matchday roundup featuring Ghana saving Africa's blushes, Richarlison's wonder goal, and Swiss precision

Another day of excitement at the Qatar 2022 World Cup

Qatar 2022 Matchday roundup featuring Ghana saving Africa's blushes, Richarlison's wonder goal, and Swiss precision

Ayoola Kelechi 22:14 - 24.11.2022
Despite falling to a dubious Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, Ghana produced the highlight of the day, scoring the first African goal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon

Samuel Eto'o's Lions are off to a rocky start to their World Cup title chase and will now need to channel their inner Spain 2010 if they are to fulfil the mandate that Eto'o has set before them. 

Coach Rigobert Song decided to start without AFCON 2022's leading scorer Vincent in response to pressure from the media and other external sources. This was a decision he would later come to regret as Cameroon missed a number of guilt-edged opportunities before halftime with Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer consistently proving the difference between Switzerland and a pummeling from Cameroon.

Switzerland celebrate against Cameroon
Switzerland celebrate against Cameroon

As fate would have it, Cameroon would be made to pay for their constant profligacy in front of goal by one of their own. 

25-year-old Monaco forward Breel Embolo, who was born and spent the first five years of his life in Cameroon, scored what proved to be the winner just three minutes after the start of the second half. His muted celebrations told the story of respect for the nation of his birth, but his goal still earned his adopted nation all three points. 

Uruguay 0-0 South Korea

I once said the 0-0 draw between Denmark and Tunisia game was the worst at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, but that title has a new owner after Uruguay and South Korea played out an incredibly unremarkable 0-0 draw of their own. 

Darwin Nunez and Son Heung-Min during Uruguay vs South Korea at the Qatar 2022 World Cup
Uruguay and South Korea played out a 0-0 draw

The absolute snoozefest was so bad that it was epic in its awfulness, setting an unwanted record in the process as FIFA failed to record a single shot on target between two teams at a FIFA World Cup for the first time in the 21st century. 

Despite having stellar attacking names like Liverpool's Darwin Nunez and former Barcelona man Luis Suarez for Uruguay,  as well as Tottenham's Son Heung-Min for Korea, the game lacked any spark, and it was reflected in the expected goals amassed by both teams (0.59 for Uruguay vs 0.64 for South Korea). 

Portugal 3-2 Ghana

Easily the game of the day, and arguably the game of the round, Portugal and Ghana served up a treat to ease the pain of anyone unfortunate enough to watch the game between Uruguay and South Korea. 

This match had everything. Record-breaking goals, a contentious penalty, hotly debated refereeing calls, and, of course, the first African goal at the World Cup, which was quickly followed by the second. 

After a dour first half that threatened to be as bad as the other match in this group, Portugal's mercurial captain Cristiano Ronaldo finally found his shooting boots when he converted from the spot to give Portugal the lead after 65 minutes. 

Ronaldo's goal saw him become only the third-ever player in FIFA history to score in five FIFA World Cups and the first to do it in the Men's game.

Ghana replied within 10 minutes of Ronaldo's goal, as their own mercurial captain, Andre Ayew slotted home an equaliser and scored the first goal by an African country at the World Cup. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a penalty against Ghana
Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cup tournaments

Ghana appeared to be on the ascendency but were quickly pegged back, by two quick Portuguese goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao, both assisted by Bruno Fernandes. 

Ghana pulled one back through Osman Bukari to set up a tense finale, but Portugal held on for all three points despite a howler from goalkeeper Diogo Costa that almost gifted Ghana a 98th minute equaliser. 

Brazil 2-0 Serbia

Brazil kicked off their World Cup group stage with a routine 2-0 win over Serbia but paid a heavy toll on the road to three points. 

After a laboured first half in which Brazil struggled to break Serbia down despite having 59% possession of the ball, both teams entered the break without having created even one big chance between them. 

In the second half, Brazil came out blazing and firing on all cylinders, and before too long, they had the opening goal thanks to Richarlison's smart finish after 62 minutes. 

Richarlison scoring Brazil's second goal against Serbia
Richarlison scoring Brazil's second goal against Serbia

Unsatisfied with just scoring his country's first goal at the World Cup, Richarlison doubled Brazil's lead with a moment of brilliance as he scored arguably the goal of the tournament so far. He took down a cross in the middle of the 18-yard box and volleyed home a superb bicycle kick goal to fully cement Gabriel Jesus' place on the Brazil bench for the foreseeable future. 

Brazil were sailing smoothly to an expected 2-0 win when disaster struck and captain Neymar was forced off with an injury, and was replaced by Antony. After the game, pictures emerged of Neymar's ankle looking swollen, and while no official statement has been given about his injury, fans of Brazil will hope that the injury is not as bad as it looks.