It is the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and only 8 of the best nations in the world remain. We started with 32 teams, but now only a quarter of that remains.
To start it off on Friday, Brazil will take on Croatia in a game that is expected to be relatively easy for the Brazilians. What follows will be Netherlands and Argentina in a highly anticipated matchup, the Netherlands have the defence, and Argentina has the attack.
On Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal take on Hakim Ziyexh and Morocco, their records have looked very similar, and despite Morocco facing the harder opposition, this could be another big upset.
To end off this round, Harry Kane’s England will go up against Olivier Giroud’s France in what could turn out to be an instant classic. They have walked very similar roads so far, unfortunately, one will have to go home.
Croatia (8.80) vs (1.37) Brazil
Brazil and Croatia open up this quarter-final round in a clash that could turn into an instant classic. Luka Modric goes up against some of his Real Madrid teammates, and his former midfielder companion in Casemiro. Tottenham Hotspurs’ new signing, Ivan Perisic will be going up against his teammate who has proven to be a lethal forward for Brazil in Richarlison. Croatia opened as the biggest underdogs in this stage. This is because of their struggle to get results as they have only won one game in open play in their last four games if we exclude the penalty shootout against Japan. Whereas Brazil sent four goals past the Republic of Korea in the first 40 minutes of the game. Brazil is expected to win comfortably in a game that could turn into an instant classic depending on which version of Croatia shows up.
Netherlands (3.50) vs (2.28) Argentina
Arguably the greatest player to ever grace our beautiful sport goes again. The dream is still very much alive, Lionel Messi has shown up and has managed to put Argentina on his back thus far. The next stop will be the biggest wall to climb, Virgil Van Dijk known as the great wall of Liverpool stands in the backline of the Netherlands leading them from the back. If any team is a wild card, it is the Netherlands, having arguably the strongest backline in the tournament. You’re only as good as how much pressure you can absorb, and the Dutchmen are looking like the best at that. The Netherlands is expected to have a defensive mindset coming into this game, which could mean a 5-3-2 or a 5-4-1 formation, with Virgil Van Dijk, Nathan Ake, and Matthijs de Ligt being in the central backline, making it very hard for Argentina to get through. This will be a highly tactical game as one team’s strength is seen as the other team’s weakness.
Morocco (5.80) vs (1.68) Portugal
Portugal did it without Cristiano Ronaldo in the Round of 16, can they risk that again? The Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has been having a superb tournament and will be expected to show up in this crucial game. The Moroccans have proven to be more than ready for whatever the world could possibly throw at them at the moment. They open as underdogs in this game, even though they matched Portugal’s record in the group stages. They finished on top in a group that had Belgium and Croatia, showing that they are more than ready for whatever it is they will have to face. In the Round of 16, they eliminated the Tiki-taka nation. They managed to hold Spain to a goalless draw, only to eliminate them in a penalty shootout that Spain missed three out of their three penalties that were taken. There is no moment too big for the Moroccans, and the Portuguese will put all of that to the test this Saturday.
England (3.05) vs (2.44) France
To close off the round, it is the clash of the European titans, the English and the French. Both countries have had a close-to-perfect tournament, they are both yet to suffer a loss in this prestigious tournament. The English have had an outbreak of new superstars in Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, and Phil Foden. The French have had the usual culprits show up in Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, and Antoinne Griezmann. So many questions have been answered for the French, they have proven that they have what it takes to defend their world championship title. This will be a must-watch game for literally everyone, it could go either way. If the English can close down Mbappe, what of Ousmane Dembele on the other wing, will Luke Shaw manage? The expectations were always going to be high, but not only have they added up, but they have also multiplied too. Whichever way it goes, it is going to be a special game.
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