Between the two, Ronaldo and Kudus will provide a fascinating sub-plot to an engrossing Group H tie between Portugal and Ghana. The 37-year-old Ronaldo, after a troubled season at his club where he has mostly warmed the bench, will hope to offer a throwback to his mercurial past and help a talented Portuguese side realise its potential. Kudus, 22, will aim to provide a glimpse into the future by carrying his club form to the international stage and propelling an underperforming Ghana into the knockout rounds.
Kudus is relishing the opportunity to play against Ronaldo, whom he grew up watching, but has promised he won’t get carried away. “I think it will be a great moment to share the same pitch with an iconic player like Cristiano Ronaldo. We all looked up to him and watched him on TV,” he told Ghana’s TV3. “But with all the respect, we will approach the game with the same mentality… My mentality is approaching every single game like when I was playing in the academy.”
Despite being his World Cup debut and a 7-0 win, the Costa Rica match wasn’t the one Nico Williams was most looking forward to.
“Above all, I’d like to face Ghana,” the Spain winger told AFP pre-tournament.
There wouldn’t be another Spanish player who’d be as keen about that matchup at this World Cup. For, one of the players Nico will be up against will be none other than his brother Inaki: Nico wearing Spanish red, Inaki – eight years elder to him – in Ghana’s colours.
“It’s that sibling rivalry. We could never have imagined that we would reach this level, two brothers playing for the same club (Athletic Bilbao), each one in a national team and at a World Cup,” Nico said, giving a glimpse into the competitive relationship between the brothers before quickly pivoting to the emotional.
The Williams brothers were born to Ghanaian parents, who had fled to Spain as refugees of the Liberian civil war.
A national team jersey often encapsulates a country’s culture and tradition. The colours are a national symbol, which become closely associated with the team’s identity – the Canary yellow is instantly identifiable with Brazil, Mexico’s Green is an instant hit always and Netherlands’s flaming orange is often a style statement.
The traiditional kits habe reappeared at the World Cup in Qatar as well, albeit with slight variations.
While England were dressed in their traditional all white garb against Iran and France donned their usual navy-blue kit, with a second star over their crest, signifying their triumph four years ago, some teams have made tweaks to their usual colours.
The USA, who were supposed to wear a jersey with rainbow striped chest, had to swap these plans for a more neutral kit while Belgium were told that they could not wear match shirts with “Love” written on their collars.