Brazil went undefeated during the World Cup qualification. Their only defeat in a match since losing to Belgium in the 2018 Russian Cup quarterfinals came against Argentina in the Copa America final.
One of two last pre-World Cup warm-up games for both countries comes on Friday at Le Havre, and Ghana’s recent performance is significantly less remarkable.
Thanks to a shocking loss to Comoros in January, Ghana exited the Africa Cup of Nations earlier than they have in 16 years.
But Ghana bounced back from the humiliation of that Cameroonian group-stage disaster by defeating fierce West African rivals Nigeria to qualify for a fourth World Cup in five tries.
With the bitter memories of an AFCON disappointment still fresh, Ghana’s management team made it a priority to cast a broad net in search of new players after they edged Nigeria on away goals.
Ransford-Yeboah Konigsdorffer and Stephan Ambrosius, who both earned under-21 caps for Germany, were recruited by coach Otto Addo using his German heritage, while Chris Hughton played a key role in persuading Tariq Lamptey to leave England.
Nevertheless, Inaki Williams, who has one cap for his native Spain after playing in a friendly in 2016, is the most exciting addition to the Ghanaian team.
Williams has represented Athletic Bilbao in 239 straight La Liga games, a record. His younger brother, Nico, received his first call-up from Spain.
The 28-year-old is eligible because of his parents, who fled Ghana and travelled barefoot across the Sahara desert before landing in Bilbao just before Williams was born.
Williams stated to BBC Sport Africa last month, “Despite being born in Europe, I have my African heritage and Ghanaian blood.”
“In my opinion, now is the best time to decide that. Given that these trains (opportunity) only pass by once, I don’t believe I will regret my decision. This opportunity wouldn’t come around again, and I believe I made the proper decisions. I shall savour the present, honour my heritage, and return the favour Ghana has shown me. “
Mohammed Salisu of Southampton has also made himself available after declining earlier calls to duty.
There are worries that the addition of new players could sour the cohesiveness of the World Cup qualifying team.
Addo, who was raised by Ghanaian parents and was born in Germany, is anxious to emphasise to his dual national players that choosing to play for the four-time African champions is “a lifetime decision.”
Addo, who represented Ghana at the 2006 World Cup, said on the BBC World Football podcast that it was “not just about the World Cup, but also about many World Cups to come.”
“The African Cup of Nations is the subject. It’s all about succeeding and winning. Therefore, it is not just about the World Cup in Qatar.”
The only other scheduled run-out before Addo announces his final roster for Qatar is next Tuesday’s friendly match against Nicaragua in Spain, so he won’t have much time to incorporate the newcomers.
The World Cup finals will undoubtedly be Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s final opportunity to win the trophy, but Neymar, who is still relatively young at 30, may have a chance as well.