As we enter the final stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the tension and excitement among the fans are set to go off the roof. Eight teams are set to battle for the biggest prize in football, but only one can win. Let’s preview the matches in the quarterfinal stage.
France vs England
Even without star Karim Benzema (injured), France easily defeated Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 encounter on Sunday. Kylian Mbappe has been in sensational form and so is French record goal scorer Olivier Giroud. They have looked shaky in defence and it could be a vulnerability against the speed England forwards possess.
England looks brilliant in their 3-0 demolition of Senegal. They appear to have found a balance up front, and with Eric Dier replacing Jordan Henderson to provide an extra man at the back, they will very certainly drop to a 3-4-3. All eyes will be on Kyle walker as he will be in-charge of keeping the in-form Mbappe quiet. Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingam will be have an important role to play and need to be at their best.
France will start as the favourites but don’t write off England.
Predictions: France 3-2 England
Brazil vs Croatia
Croatia just completed a gruelling 120-minute match against a Japan team, who pushed them all the way to the shootout. They were trailing 1-0 at the break, but they fought back and never looked like losing the game once they tied it up. Modric and Brozovic in the midfield will be crucial if Croatia are to have any chance.
Brazil destroyed a valiant but inexperienced Korea Republic team. Seleço may need to change their strategy if their next opponent chooses to play with more toughness and a more defensive structure. Brazil should have the offensive prowess to defeat Croatia, but they must be careful to maintain their composure if the game becomes a long and arduous contest.
Richarlison and Vinicius Jr. are both performing at their prime, while Neymar's comeback from injury was a big success.
Brazil will likely be the favourite, but if Croatia can disrupt and defend, we might witness an exciting match.
Predictions: Brazil 2-1 Croatia
Netherlands vs Argentina
Although the Netherlands were not one of the pre-tournament favourites, they have topped their group, easily outplayed the USA, and scored some extremely brilliant team goals. With Louis Van Gaal in charge, the Netherlands will seek to exploit Argentina's weak aspects, namely their defence. They'll probably give up much of the possession and try to launch sharp counterattacks to deliver risky passes to either of Depay, Gakpo, or Dumfries.
Against the tenacious Australians, Argentina occasionally appeared to be lacking in attacking ideas, which may be related to Di Maria's absence. Alvarez is scoring elusive goals, while Fernandez has been a revelation in the middle of the field.
While there are still issues about Romero, Lisandro Martinez and Emi Martinez have both been steadfast in their defence. Argentina will probably adopt the same possession-based strategy and try to quickly win the ball back in midfield, while Messi sneaks up on opponents before swerving into dangerous positions.
Although it's difficult to predict the result, Argentina should prevail if they play as a unit.
Predictions: Netherlands 1-2 Argentina
Morocco vs Portugal
Morocco is having a fantastic tournament in Qatar and has advanced to the round of eight for the first time thanks to a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Spain. Morocco also won a difficult Group F ahead of European powerhouses Croatia and Belgium. They have conceded only one goal so far in this world cup and that an owl goal. Against Portugal, they will again set up defensively hoping to cause problems on the counter.
Goncalo Ramos of Benfica demolished Murat Yakin's Switzerland with a superb hat-trick in a 6-1 thrashing after Fernando Santos made the crucial decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo following his antics against South Korea. They looked much better without their talisman and once again it is likely that Ronaldo will be dropped.
This is a hard one to call but Portugal could Morocco’s dream run.
Portugal 1-0 Morocco