World Cup Daily: Unforgettable heroes shine in Portugal's win

World Cup Daily: Unforgettable heroes shine in Portugal’s win

After each day of the 2022 FIFA World Cup,’s World Cup Daily Blog will recap the day’s events and look ahead to the next day’s slate of games.

Here’s what happened in Qatar on Thursday, in case you missed it…

The results

Switzerland 1, Cameroon 0 in Al Wakrah: Game report || Match statistics

Uruguay 0, South Korea 0 in Al Wakrah: Game report || Match statistics

Portugal 3, Ghana 2 in Doha: Game report || Match statistics

Brazil 2, Serbia 0 in Lucille: Game report || Match statistics

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Main points of conversation

Unforgettable heroes shone in Portugal’s victory

All eyes were on Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo when he made his debut in Qatar two days after his public break-up with Manchester United, and he marked the occasion by making history. He converted from 12 yards in the 65th minute after conceding a controversial penalty against Ghana. In doing so, the Portuguese star became the first man in history to score in five different World Cups.

Ronaldo will grab the headlines from his side’s 3-2 win in Group H play, but it was a trio of other players who were most impressive on the night for Portugal. Joao Felix, 23, is one who hasn’t quite lived up to his identity, but the Atletico Madrid star made the most of his opportunity when he scored a stunning finish against Portugal in the 78th minute. giving you a 2-1 lead.

Soon after, 23-year-old Rafael Luo showed why he was one of the best young stars to watch this tournament. Liu came off the bench and scored just three minutes into his World Cup debut when his first-time shot found the far corner of the net. His strike proved crucial as Ghana grabbed a late goal to make things incredibly uncomfortable for Portugal.

Both Leão and Félix’s goals were set up by Bruno Fernandes, who delivered picture-perfect passes that opened up the Ghanaian defence. Throughout the game, the Manchester United star served as Portugal’s chief architect through his excellent distribution and communication with his attacking teammates. If not for his efforts, the Portuguese might have met a different fate. Instead, they are top of the table in Group H thanks in large part to their incredible heroics.

It took some time, but Brazil left its mark

Brazil entered this World Cup as tournament favorites and continued their billing with a convincing 2-0 win over Serbia in their Group G match. The scoreline favored the Serbs, who were burned by the South Americans’ mass attack for the majority of the game. Serbia defended well and benefited from some excellent saves by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, as Brazil enjoyed 63 percent possession and a 22-5 advantage in total shots (10-0 on goal).

More is expected of the Brazilian every time the team takes to the pitch, regardless of the formation. As the spiritual custodians of the game, Brazilians have an obligation to entertain. It’s not enough to just win; They must win in fun and style.

The Serbs did their best to prevent this incident with their solid defense. When Richarlison broke the deadlock with his first World Cup goal in the 62nd minute, there was a sense of relief in the hearts of the Brazilians who had been thwarted at every turn by their opponents. Richarlison’s rebound was poor, but it put Brazil on the board and gave them the lead they needed.

Through it all, it was time for Brazil to put on a show and give what everyone had come to see: the kind of magic that only it can produce. Richarlison was more than happy to oblige, scoring on a stunning volley from 12 yards that was pure reel material. If Serbia’s hopes weren’t dashed by Richarlison’s stunning opening goal, they certainly were after his stunning second effort. Brazil collected three points, and everyone was happy. Except for Serbia.

Goal of the day

In the 73rd minute, Vinicius Jr. chipped a ball in the Serbian penalty area for teammate Richarlison, who headed the ball behind. Instead of trying to control and turn the ball, he leaned on his left leg and then moved his body as he right-footed the ball from 12 yards after the Serbian had reached the back of the net. The heart broke with the governor. Goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic. Easily the goal of the tournament so far.

The moment of the day

What an emotional experience it must have been for Swiss forward Brielle Mbolo to score his first World Cup goal against Cameroon, the country of his birth and where his father still lives today.

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Daily rate

“Football writes these stories. I told Braille [Embolo]: ‘Camerons are your friends, but they are also your opponents.’ I am happy with his performance.” – Swiss coach Murat Yakin.

Six pack of statistics

• Xherdan Shaqiri is the second Swiss player to play in four World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022) after Vallon Bahrami.

Diego Godin (36 years and 281 days) is the oldest Uruguayan player to play in a World Cup, beating the previous record set by Obdulio Jacinto Varela in 1954 (36 years and 279 days).

• Cristiano Ronaldo is only the fifth person to play in five different World Cups (2006-2022), joining Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez (Mexico), Luther Mathis (Germany) and Lionel Messi (Argentina).

• Portugal vs Ghana was only the fourth World Cup game to score at least five goals after a 0-0 half-time draw. The others were Poland 5-1 Peru (1982), Netherlands 2-3 Brazil (1994), and Belgium 3-2 Japan (2018).

• Brazil are unbeaten (17 wins) in their last 20 World Cup opening matches.

• Not a single player was shown a red card in the first match of the World Cup. This is the first time this has happened since the 1986 tournament.

Statistics by Opta

Three stars of the day

1) Richarlison, Brazil: The Tottenham forward now has nine goals in seven games for Brazil after scoring twice against Serbia.

2) Bruno Fernandes, Portugal: The Manchester United star collected two assists to set up his side’s second and third goals with perfectly weighted balls.

3) Federico Valverde, Uruguay: He made his team’s show in the midfield on the offensive and defensive end of things.

Looking forward to Friday

Qatar then returns to action in Group A when it faces Senegal (8:00 a.m. ET), with both nations looking to pick up their first win at this World Cup.

But the highlight of the day is the Group B match between England and the United States (2:00 pm). These countries have met before in the World Cup. The Americans suffered the biggest defeat in the history of the tournament when they beat England 1-0 in Brazil in 1950. They also played to a 1-1 draw at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

John Molinaro is one of the leading soccer journalists in Canada, having covered the game for over 20 years for several media outlets, including Sportsnet, CBC Sports and Sun Media. He is currently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a website dedicated to in-depth coverage of Toronto FC and Canadian soccer. TFC Republic can be found over here.

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