It’s the turn of the final eight nations to make their 2022 Fifa World Cup entrance in Qatar on Thursday.
Big beasts Brazil make their bow against tricky Serbia, with many backing the South Americans to add to their global trophy haul in the Gulf, after Switzerland take on Cameroon in the Group G opener.
Group H sees all the attention on Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side as they play Ghana, while Uruguay meet South Korea.
World Cup predictions and fixtures for 24 November
*All kick off times are in Central Africa Time.
Group G: Switzerland vs Cameroon – 12.00
Day five of the 2022 Fifa World Cup kicks off with an intriguing tussle between Switzerland and Cameroon.
The Swiss have been running like clockwork in recent years, even earning themselves dark horse status in some quarters, including a run to the European Championship quarter-finals with a knockout win over France en route.
And they do so under the newish charge of coach Murat Yakin, who replaced the long serving Vladimir Petkovic a little over a year ago.
Their opponents knocked out African hotshots Algeria in their qualifying play-off and have every chance of springing a surprise under coach Rigobert Song, while one Samuel Eto’o now sits as top dog of the national federation.
Group G: Brazil vs Serbia – 21.00
Brazil mount their challenge to lift the Fifa World Cup for the first time since 2002 when they kick off their Group G campaign against Serbia on Thursday night.
Tite’s men are spoilt for choice in a forward line headed up by global star Neymar, while they also possess a wealth of experience at the back and two of the best goalkeepers in the competition in English Premier League duo Alisson and Ederson.
Their Eastern European opponents will cause their share of problems going forward in this competition too, spurred on from midfield by the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Dusan Tadic.
Going beyond the pool phase for the first time would be a start for Dragan Stojkovic and his charges, mind you.
Group H: Uruguay vs South Korea – 15.00
Fifa World Cup 2022 Group H finally gets cracking in Qatar as Uruguay and South Korea end their long wait for their big kick off.
Points are critical from the off for these two in an up-for-grabs pool also containing unpredictable pair Portugal and Ghana.
Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are among the South American stars coming into their fourth global showpiece, with hopes high among the two-time winners for a push towards the semi-final stage they reached in controversial circumstances in South Africa 12 years ago.
A pre-tournament injury for main Korean man Son Heung-min threatened to derail the serial qualifiers, but the Spurs ace’s recovery from a fractured eye socked just in time is a welcome boost.
Group H: Portugal vs Ghana – 18.00
Manchester United reject Cristiano Ronaldo kicks off life as a free agent as his Portugal side tackle Ghana in the last of the opening round of group matches at the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
The football legend parted ways with the English Premier League club in the first week of the tournament.
It’s open to question, then, how much he will hog the limelight in Qatar as coach Fernando Santos aims to take them beyond the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006.
The Black Stars barged past Nigeria in their qualification play-off but will have to keep their heads cool in the desert heat, not least with a rematch with 2010 enemies Uruguay looming next week.
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.