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Portugal v Ghana and Brazil v Serbia - James Milton's betting tips

Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign on Thursday and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal are also in action in Qatar.

The Portuguese, champions of Europe in 2016, are aiming to make a winning start against Ghana in Group H while five-time World Cup winners Brazil take on a dangerous Serbia side in Group G.

Ronaldo ready to lead the line for group favourites

What: Portugal v Ghana, World Cup
Where: Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar
When: 16:00, Thursday 24th November
How to watch: ITV
Odds: Portugal 2/5, Ghana 15/2, Draw 15/4

Group H favourites Portugal are 2/5 to beat 15/2 Ghana in their opening game of the World Cup but Fernando Santos's men have struggled at their last two major tournaments.

At the 2018 World Cup they drew 3-3 with Spain, edged past Morocco 1-0 and were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran in the group stage before losing to Uruguay in the last 16.

Portugal fell at the same hurdle at Euro 2020, losing 1-0 to Belgium after a 3-0 win over Hungary, a 4-2 defeat to Germany and a 2-2 draw with France, in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties, in three entertaining group games.

Ronaldo's falling-out with Manchester United has dominated the headlines recently and he missed last week's 4-0 friendly win over Nigeria due to illness.

United teammate Bruno Fernandes scored twice in that victory but Ronaldo, who has amassed 117 goals in 191 caps for his country, should be fit to start against Ghana and he is 3/1 to be the First Goalscorer.

Three of Portugal's last four international wins, against Nigeria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, have been by a 4-0 margin and that outcome can be backed at 16/1 in the Correct Score market.

Ghana have some form players in their ranks with Athletic Bilbao stalwart Inaki Williams, who recently switched his international allegiance from Spain, set to lead the line and Arsenal's Thomas Partey at the heart of their midfield. Mohammad Kudus, who has impressed for Ajax in this season's Champions League, is 16/1 to be First Goalscorer.

However, Portugal's defence is solid and both teams have scored in only one of their last eight internationals, a 1-1 Nations League draw with Spain, so backing Portugal to win to nil at 1/1 could be the way to go.

Neymar could put Serbia in a spot of bother

What: Brazil v Serbia, World Cup
Where: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail, Qatar
When: 19:00, Thursday 24th November
How to watch: BBC One
Odds: Brazil 1/2, Serbia 11/2, Draw 16/5

Brazil will have enjoyed seeing their South American rivals Argentina slip to a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday but the Selecao must now focus on a tricky opener against Serbia.

The Serbs are 11/2 to beat 1/2 Brazil in Lusail and both of these teams qualified for the finals in impressive style.

Brazil conceded only five goals in 17 qualifying matches, winning 14 and drawing three, while Serbia were also unbeaten in their qualifying campaign, finishing top of European Group A ahead of Portugal.

Tite's Brazil signed off their qualifying campaign with three consecutive 4-0 wins against Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia and that result is available to back at 20/1 in the Correct Score market.

As that price suggests, Serbia are expected to put up some decent resistance to the trophy favourites, especially if Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic are fit enough to start.

Only Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Ivan Toney have scored more Premier League goals than Mitrovic's nine this season and he is 11/4 in the Anytime Goalscorer betting.

Brazil, of course, have an embarrassment of attacking riches but Neymar, who has been in prolific Ligue 1 form for Paris Saint-Germain this term, remains their main man and is 15/4 to be the First Goalscorer in Lusail.

It is worth noting that Neymar has scored five penalties in Brazil's last six internationals, and Philippe Coutinho also converted a spot-kick during that run, so the 10/3 on offer about Brazil in the To Score A Penalty market could be worth a bet.

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