Qatar 2022: Preview of Quarter Finals — What to expect?

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By Kuranga Habeeb

Little by little, the most anticipated World cup in Qatar, a small Middle East country, is gradually coming to an end.

With the Quarter Final matches sets to kick off today with enticing fixtures that will tickle our fancies. Here is the preview of the games by The Ravens NG sports reporter Kuranga Habeeb.

Croatia vs Brazil

Brazil will endeavour to get one past Croatia in their bid to lift the FIFA world cup for the sixth time. Croatia, on the hand, will be hoping to go past this hurdle in order to reach the semifinals of the world cup for the third time in their history.

Zlatko Dalic’s side has only lost once in their last 20 games across all competition since EURO 2020, but this impressive run is yet to be tested by the gun blazing Seleçao, who head into the Friday encounter off the back of their most impressive game so far in this WC against South Korea.

Since beating Germany in the final of the 2002 World Cup in Korea-Japan, Brazil has lost all five knockout matches on the international stage against European nations. However, the Seleçao has never lost a match against Croatia, having played four times against them in this tournament.

Netherlands vs Argentina

Both clubs were impressive in their huge wins against the USA and Australia in the Round of 16, respectively.

The Oranje, as they are fondly called, will be playing against Argentina for the first time in the world cup since their defeat in the semifinal of the 2014 world cup in Brazil.

Argentina’s last three defeats in this competition have all come against European countries; Germany (twice) in the quarter-final of the 2010 world cup and the 2014 grand finale, and France in the R16 in the 2018 world cup.

The Netherlands will be hoping to advance through this round in order to make up for their disappointment in the last world cup after they failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia.

Louis van Gaal and his men will be hoping they defeat the La Albiceleste for the bitter defeat they inflicted on them in the 1978 WC final. Although, they had a better laugh in the 1998 WC quarter-final.

Morocco vs Portugal

After becoming just the fourth African nation to qualify for the Quarter Finals stage of the world cup (after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010). Morocco will have their eyes on the semifinal and subsequently become the first African nation to play in the semis of the FIFA world cup. But this won’t be a doddle task as they face a stern test against the Seleçao of Portugal.

The Portuguese side will be hoping to advance through to the semifinal since the 2006 WC in Germany.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco, led by Walid Regragui, raised eyebrows as they surprised the World by defeating Spain in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16.

The small Iberian nation was emphatic in their win against Switzerland in the Round of 16, putting 6 goals past the Switzerland team.

England vs France

It’s either it ended in “it’s coming home” or ‘Allez Les Bleus’ in the Al-Bayt stadium at the full-time whistle on Saturday evening as England will slug out with France in the Qatar 2022 world cup quarterfinal.

England was too much to contain for Senegal in the R16, and they subsequently booked a quarter-final ticket for the ninth time in their history. However, they have been eliminated in six of those previous eight, with the only exemptions in 1966 and 2018.

The three lions’ six of their last eighth world cup eliminations have come against fellow European countries.

Olivier Giroud’s striker’s instinctive goal against Poland in the round of 16 made him the outright male highest goalscorer for France with 52 goals, finally usurping Thierry Henry’s record.

France has now reached the quarterfinal of the world cup in five of the last seven editions, and Didier Deschamps’s men have prevailed in eight of their last 10 knockout ties against fellow UEFA nations.

The Three Lions defeated the Les Bleus in both of their previous meetings at the tournament in 1966 and 1982.

The Qatar 2022 world cup has given its viewers so much to enjoy as far as the pitch of play is concerned. And the quarterfinals and beyond won’t be an exemption. It would surely be a fantastic competition altogether as the tournament wraps up in style.

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