Former Ghana defender Shilla Illiasu has stuck his neck out to predict the countries he believes are favourites to qualify to the knock out stages from the Group H of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, considering history and current performances.
The final draw for the 2022 World Cup was held in Doha, Qatar on Friday evening, with Ghana placed in Group H along with Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea. The Black Stars of Ghana will open what would be their fourth World Cup appearance tournament against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, before taking on their familiar foes Uruguay in the second game of the group.
Both Portugal and Uruguay have had the edge over Ghana at the world stage on one occasion each, with Portugal beating Ghana 2-1 in match day three of the group stage in the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil. Uruguay on the other hand, denied Ghana a first semi final appearance at the World Cup when they defeated Ghana 4-2 on penalties after extra time in the quarter final stage, following a 1-1 draw in the regulation time.
Ghana have this time been pegged against both Portugal and Uruguay in Group H of the 2022 World Cup, and Shilla Illiasu, who played for the Ghana at the Germany 2006 World Cup, believes that the European and South American representatives stand favourites on paper to advance from the group.
“On paper I’m sure a lot of people will tip Portugal or Uruguay, but you see in football anything can happen”, Shilla begun, speaking to ghanasportspage.com after the draw on Friday.
“Ghana we didn’t do well at the  AFCON and to the qualifications to the World Cup so a lot of people didn’t give Ghana the chance to qualify to the World Cup when we played against Nigeria. So it means that moving closer to November [when the tournament will start] anything can happen; maybe we can get our shape back, but on paper, to be fair with you I think it’s going to be Portugal and Uruguay if we should be fair with ourselves, but for football anything can happen”, he said.
Shilla Illiasu was a regular member of the Ghana squad that played at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He featured in all the four matches Ghana played, starting in two of the group stage matches and one as a substitute. The then Kumase Asante Kotoko player who wore the number 7 shirt for Ghana, also played the full 90 minutes in the Round of 16 match against Brazil when Ghana, the tournament debutants then, lost by 3-0 to end the journey.