The Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah is the venue for this potentially spicy match between Ghana and Uruguay. 12 years after their infamous Suarez handball-tainted quarter final meeting in the South Africa World Cup of 2010, the two nations do battle once again with a place in the last 16 on the line. Uruguay must win to stand any chance of progressing, whilst Ghana might feel that a draw would be enough, depending on the result of the South Korea match.
Combining Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, Uruguay’s qualifying route, and their first World Cup outings, I’ve covered xG, goals, shots, corners and cards. Crack down on the data alongside my Stats Pack Guide, so you can delve deep into the bookie markets for a winning bet builder.
It would be a surprise if Ghana made any changes after their excellent 3-2 victory vs South Korea. Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus scored twice in that match and was the standout player. A total of six Ghana players are on a yellow card but they have no suspensions or any new declared injuries. A 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation is to be expected.
Despite only having picked up one point and yet to score a single goal at this tournament, it is unlikely the manager will make too many changes to the Uruguay team. The one change might come upfront where the ageing Suárez and Cavani have yet to be very effective. Maxi Gomez could be a candidate to start in attack. Uruguay have gone for a good old 4-4-2 by the looks of it.
Ghana scores 1.60 goals per 90 mins and this is an overachievement compared to their xG of 1.10. However, this is balanced out at the other end of the field where they’ve underachieved their xGA of 1.68 by conceding exactly two goals per game. Ghana average 13.80 shots against per match which is quite a high rate, however only 4.20 of those are SOT against.
They tend to average mid to high in terms of corners for (5.40) and against (5.20) and also very high for cards obtained (3.40). Ghana only average 9.40 shots per game which is quite a low amount.
Despite several strong attacking options such as Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Darwin Núñez, Uruguay only average 1.10 goals per 90 mins. At least defensively they are very solid, only conceding 1.20 per match. Their xG and xGA metrics are both fairly low and this isn’t a team that has been involved in many high scoring matches. They do however average 11.76 shots per game and convert that into 3.75 SOT. Uruguay rank reasonably low for corners for and against.
Their discipline has been ok, only obtaining 1.70 cards per 90 mins and have drawn a total of 2.15 cards against, but this match should put a red mark on that.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Ghana are not a team that shoots readily. No player averages more than 2.22 shots per 90 mins and top of that list is the double goalscorer from the previous game Mohammed Kudus.
Thomas Partey averages exactly two shots per 90 mins but has terrible accuracy with a zero SOT rate. Accuracy is a massive problem for this Ghana team with only Kudus standing out in that way for being reliable. Daniel Kofi-Kyreh ranks quite high for shots per 90 mins but is only a bench warmer and played just 13 total minutes at this World Cup.
Luis Suárez averages the most shots per match for Uruguay (3.11) but in general this is not a high shooting team in terms of individuals. Darwin Núñez and Edinson Cavani only average around the 2.0 mark for shots per 90 mins, whilst wide made De Arrescaeta fires in 2.34 at a SOT rate of 1.25. He came off the bench for the last 30 mins vs Portugal and could be used again at some point here, perhaps even from the start.
Uruguay failed to have a single shot on target vs South Korea and badly misfired. They didn’t do much better vs Portugal, only having three SOT.
Player Goals and Assists
There is rather limited data here, but Mohammed Kudus and Andre Ayew lead the Ghana scoring charts with two goals each. It won’t be a surprise to see everyone focusing on Kudus after his brace vs South Korea. It makes sense to target him or any of the other front three, the Ayew brothers or Iñaki Williams for goals and assists.
Veteran Luis Suarez led the Uruguay scoring charts in qualifying, scoring 8 goals. Edinson Cavani and Darwin Núñez combined for just 3 goals between them! Giorgian de Arrascaeta was the second highest scorer for Uruguay during their qualifying campaign, contributing well from the left hand side. Uruguay have not scored a single goal at this Word Cup yet and it would appear from the data that they really lack a playmaker because you wonder where the assists are going to come from.
Obtaining cards is an area in which Ghana excel, averaging 3.40 per 90 mins. A total of six players have picked up yellow cards in this tournament so far, but with so much on the line I doubt anyone will be operating cautiously. Amartey and Andre Ayew are two players especially worth keeping an eye on, whilst right back Tariq Lamptey averages 2.73 cards per 90 mins. There is a bitter rivalry between the two nations, so I certainly expect Ghana to get stuck in here.
Striker Luis Suárez is fouled on average 2.12 times per 90 mins. He may be old and lacking pace these days but is a clever operator. Following incidents 12 years ago there is an expectation he will be heavily targeted by Ghana in this fixture. Edinson Cavani is fouled on average 1.43 times per 90 mins but there is no guarantee he will start. In midfield Bentacur is usually up for some good battles and tussles. He gets fouled on average close to once per game, but that figure could increase in a match like this one.
Matchups to watch:
Daniel Amartey vs Luis Suárez
Andre Ayew vs Rodrigo Bentancur
Tariq Lamptey vs Darwin Núñez
Bentancur is always the standout player to go into the book for Uruguay. He duly obliged vs Portugal and has seven cards in 18 starts. Bentancur also averages 2.05 fouls per 90 mins and because their whole tournament is on the line, I don’t think he will be thinking of avoiding suspension. Both Vecino and Valverde also have high average foul rates per 90 mins at 1.84 and 1.40 respectively. They will get stuck in against this Ghana midfield.
Jordan Ayew is by far the most fouled Ghanian at 4.36 per 90 mins. That is a really high rate and watch for his elusiveness vs the Uruguay fullbacks. Andre Ayew is another Ghana player who is regularly fouled at 2.50 times per 90 mins. Both Tariq Lamptey and Thomas Partey are candidates to be fouled at close to an average of two times per game each. In this World Cup, Mohammed Kudus has been fouled 1.67 times per 90 mins and could also be targeted.
Matchups to watch:
Rodrigo Bentancur vs Mohammed Kudus
Matias Vecino vs Thomas Partey
Mathías Olivera vs Jordan Ayew