Portugal edged Ghana 3-2 at the World Cup in what was one of the more thrilling games of the tournament so far – and Wolves ace Ruben Neves started the contest.
Fernando Santos’ side took all three points thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao.
Portugal struggled to break Ghana down in the first-half. The Black Stars were strong defensively, and kept their opponents at arm’s length.
It was a relatively low key first 45 minutes, but the second-half really came to life.
Ronaldo got the ball rolling for Portugal when he won and scored a penalty.
Ghana equalised through Andre Ayew after good work from Mohammed Kudus. But a quick-fire double from Felix and Leao put Portugal in fairly commanding position.
But Osman Bukari pulled one back, and then in the dying moments of the game, Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost suffered a hugely embarrassing moment.
He had the ball in his clutches, but wasn’t aware Inaki Williams was lurking behind him. He dropped the ball to his feet, ready to kick it out. Williams then came out of nowhere and was going to try and shoot, but lost his footing at the vital moment.
It was a highly entertaining game. And for Wolves fans it was good to see Ruben Neves out there mixing it with some world-class players.
Neves was selected to start by Santos, playing the holding midfield role he is so familiar with back at Wolves.
Neves was tidy in possession, completing 59/64 passes (94% completion, via Sofascore). He was also fairly solid defensively, winning 4/6 duels.
But there were a few times Neves’ lack of pace was exposed. The lively Kudus made him look very slow indeed on a couple of occasions.
But by and large, it was a nice, controlled performance from Neves.
Great to see Ruben Neves representing Wolves on the biggest stage, as midfielder starts for Portugal against Ghana at the World Cup
It was fantastic that Neves started for Portugal today in their first World Cup match against Ghana.
His performances for Wolves this season have been superb, and he deserves a chance to show what he can do on the biggest stage alongside some absolutely top players.
It was far from a stellar display from the Molineux maestro.
But Neves can be relatively pleased with his outing.
It was a measured, controlled display from the 25-year-old, and he allowed Otavio and Bruno Fernandes to be more creative outlets ahead of him.
He was taken off on 77 minutes, and he will definitely be in contention to start again in the next game against Uruguay.