Friday sees the final day of Group action and as the remaining four places are etched onto the wallchart for the last 16, one game in particular stands out from the crowd.
As Ghana and Uruguay meet in their third game, the two renew hostilities for only the second time in a rematch of their quarter-final meeting at South Africa 2010. On that occasion, Uruguay progressed on penalties in front of 84,000 fans in Soccer City, Johannesburg 12 years ago, but only after a dramatic conclusion in normal time.
Following Luis Suarez’ sending off for preventing a Ghana winner with his hands, Asamoah Gyan then missed the resulting penalty that would have taken the Black Stars into the last four.
Uruguay survived until the shootout before winning on spot kicks; injustice and heartbreak were rife among the Ghanaian support. Could revenge be on the cards this time around?
Despite sitting above their opponents in the standings ahead of this, Uruguay are considered the favourites to leapfrog Ghana for second spot, yet, given the rather laboured showings of La Celeste, Ghana have more than a chance of a result here.
Just a draw will see them progress, so a 29/10 value with SpreadEx is surely too tall? For a Ghanaian win meanwhile, a 4/1 shot across the board waits for the plucky gambler.
How about more penalty drama? For a penalty to be taken, Betfair’s odds of 9/5 are worth a ponder, whilst for Ghana or Uruguay to convert from the spot, respective punts of 8/1 and 4/1 are offered by Bet365.
With the stakes once more high in Qatar, as stated, Ghana need only a draw in all likelihood to move forward – barring South Korea taking down Portugal in what would be the latest surprise of an unpredictable tournament – and the onus is very much on the South Americans to get the win that should take them through instead.
Darwin Nunez is yet to make his presence felt in Qatar, but this might be the moment for the Liverpool forward to shine. For Nunez to have 2+ SOT, a 9/4 punt with SkyBet has potential.
For Ghana, Mohammed Kudus grabbed a brace against South Korea, with the stock of the Ajax winger rising by the game.
However, given the bookies lack of faith in the African nation here, his price to score a third of the tournament remains fairly steep. Indeed, at 9/2 with Betway, a Kudus goal could bring punters an excellent win.
Given the short but explosive history of this fixture, we are anticipating a flash point or two here, and a red card to be shown in the match is still a very decent 4/1 shot with UniBet, with over 5.5 cards to be dished out at 15/8 with PaddyPower.
Finally, this game has of course its own narrative in the shape of – you guessed it – Luis Suarez, but his presence may be limited to an appearance from the bench given his poor showings so far.
Therefore, we are looking at a late Suarez goal to again steal the headlines. For Suarez to score last, a 19/4 play with Betway is very much worthy of a place on the betslip.