World Cup: Four things to look out for on Day 5

(Clockwise from top left) Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil's Neymar, Switzerland's Granit Xhaka and South Korea's Son Heung-min. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

DOHA – Cristiano Ronaldo will be making his first appearance at the 2022 Fifa World Cup when Portugal face Ghana in Group H on Thursday. Here are four things to look out for on the fifth day of the tournament in Qatar.

1. Ronaldo’s point to prove

The forward will not be lacking motivation when Portugal confront Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha. The fixture comes just two days after Manchester United announced it had severed ties with Ronaldo in the wake of an explosive TV interview in which he heavily criticised the club and manager Erik ten Hag.

At 37, Ronaldo will be determined to prove that he is not yet a spent force in what will surely be his last World Cup. Standing in his - and Portugal’s - way are a Ghana outfit keen to continue a recent run of impressive form, which has included victories over Chile and Switzerland.

2. Neymar’s Brazil

The Selecao begin their Qatar 2022 campaign against Serbia with their confidence soaring. Tite’s men finished top of the South American qualifying group with 14 wins, three draws and not a single defeat.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar continues to be a talismanic figure, though Brazil will not be as reliant on their No. 10 as in previous years. This is due to an abundance of attacking talent that also includes Tottenham’s Richarlison, Barcelona’s Raphinha and Real Madrid pair Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

Serbia will be no pushovers for the South American giants, having gone undefeated in qualifying and finishing top of their group. Dragan Stojkovic’s side looks particularly strong in attack, led by the prolific Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic.

3. Dangerous Switzerland

The Swiss, another team to impress in qualifying, take on Cameroon at Al-Janoub Stadium. Switzerland are a well-oiled machine under manager Murat Yakin, having beaten Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic in their last three competitive fixtures.

Vital to their hopes will be the form of Granit Xhaka. The Arsenal midfielder has had a superb start to the season for Arsenal and is one of the most experienced members of Yakin’s squad, despite having only turned 30 in September.

4. Son Heung-min’s return

The Spurs forward will be playing his first match since fracturing his left eye socket on Nov 2. He will wear a protective mask and manager Paulo Bento admitted there were “risks” involved with his return.

The Asian outfit are in Group H and face a Uruguay team that finished third in South America’s gruelling 10-team qualifying tournament, behind only Brazil and Argentina. Uruguay manager Diego Alonso is spoiled for choice in attack with veterans Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez joined by Liverpool record signing Darwin Nunez. XINHUA

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