Cristiano Ronaldo’s falling out with Manchester United has dominated the build-up to what appears likely to be the forward’s final World Cup with Portugal.
They will open their efforts in Group H against Ghana at the 974 Stadium, the first temporary arena to host a World Cup match.
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s warm-up game with Nigeria due to illness but declared himself fit for the opener.
With Diogo Jota ruled out of the campaign with a calf injury, a strong attacking trident is likely to feature Bernardo Silva and one of Rafael Lea or Joao Felix, with the former perhaps the favorite despite not featuring in the win in Nigeria.
Rui Patricia’s time as Portugal’s undisputed number one came to an end this year; Diogo Costa looks set to get the nod in goal.
Ghana secured an impressive victory over Switzerland in their final competitive business on the pitch before the World Cup, continuing a good first year under manager Otto Addo, who was installed before their play-off qualifying success against Nigeria.
Addo’s squad look fully fit ahead of the first leg, with Arsenal’s Thomas Partey set to anchor the midfield.
The availability of Inaki Williams is a boost for Ghana, with the winger switching allegiance from Spain this summer after winning his only cap for the country of his birth in a friendly in 2016.
Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew is also a likely starting striker, while his brother Andre is now based in Qatar and recently overtook Asamoah Gyan as the Black Stars’ all-time best player.
Predicted Portugal XI (4-3-3):
Costa; Cancelo, D Perera, Dias, Guerreiro; Neves, Otavio, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Felix.
Predicted Ghana XI (4-2-3-1):
Ati Zigi; Lamptey, Amartey, Salisu, Baba; Partey, Abdul Samed; A.Ayew, Kudus, J. Ayew; Williams.