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FIFA World Cup 2022 Quarterfinals - Brazil vs Croatia Opening Match

Mary C

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The World Cup quarterfinals of 2022 have begun. With eight teams left in the competition after an exciting group stage and nerve-wracking round of 16, the event is entering its final stages. There are many prominent figures, excellent matchups, and elite athletes who are all focused on lifting the trophy on December 18. 

Croatia vs Brazil 

Brazil is full of confidence going into their World Cup quarterfinal matchup against Croatia on Friday after Neymar’s return sparked a confident and arrogant performance in the round of 16. Their impressive 4-1 victory over South Korea, which included goals from Vinicius Junior, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta in addition to a Neymar Penalty, sent a chilling message to their rivals in Qatar.  

The players celebrated their goals by showcasing their dance moves, and for the last 45 minutes, the game was free-flowing and joyful. Tite, their 61-year-old coach, even joined in on the celebrations. The Selecao’s performance at Stadium 974 in Doha was so exciting that several people compared it to the best and most entertaining Brazilian teams, including Pele’s 1970 team and Socrates 1982 team.  

However, it was just one game, and it came after the five-time winners fell to Cameroon, their first loss in the opening round of a World Cup since 1998, and only managed to score three goals in three group games. Given the results prior World Cups, Brazil will undoubtedly accept a straightforward victory over Croatia at Education City Stadium rather than playing exhibition football.  

Since winning their fifth championship in 2002, Brazil has lost all of their matches to European opponents, including humiliating losses to Germany 7-1 at home in 2014 and Belgium in Russia four years ago. After the victory over South Korea, Neymar remarked "We are dreaming of winning the title; that’s obvious, but we have to go step by step". This was the fourth game, and there are still three games left, but we are ready, and we have the championship on our minds.  

After sustaining an ankle injury in the opening 2-0 triumph over Serbia, Neymar made his way back into the starting lineup for the round of 16, and Danilo’s comeback at left back was almost crucial. Another full-back for Tite, Alex Telles, is out for the duration of the competition although Alex Sandro is working out again and anticipates returning. If so, Danilo will move to right back, and Eder Militao should withdraw to the side. 

After being forced into extra time in three straight games, Croatia advanced to the final, four years ago. On Monday, they needed an extra half-hour and penalties to defeat Japan in the round of 16. The danger now is that this game might be a step too far for Zlatko Dalic’s resilient team, who have much the same spine as four years ago and are still captained by the 37-year-old Luka Modric.  

Mateo Kovacic stated, “I think everyone in the world knows the value of Luka Modric. He’s our leader, our best player, and we are proud to have him on the field.” The Chelsea player continued “We are accustomed to very tough physical games in the Premier League, and that’s something that we want to show against Brazil. Whatever the outcome, the four-million-person nation should be proud of reaching this level after its 2018 accomplishments. However, Croatia, who has only suffered one loss since the European Championship last year, is confident in their Nations league victory over France in Paris in June as a model. We needed to maintain possession of the ball against Brazil since we played a pretty strong game here, according to Kovacic. 

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