Good luck topping that!
Thousands of fans flooded Qatar on Friday to witness the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals and the two fixtures were exciting, to say the least.
The day started with Brazil and Croatia, which ended in a major upset for the 2022 favorites. The two teams were head-to-head at 0-0 up until the end of regulation, sending them into two 15-minute periods of extra time.
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Neymar scored to give Brazil the late lead, but soon his goal was followed by Croatia’s Bruno Petković, who equalized the score and brought the two nations into penalty kicks, where Croatia dominated 4-2.
And the excitement didn’t stop there. In fact, chaos ensued even more when sights turned from Al Rayyan to Lusail Stadium. Argentina’s Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi started the country off with two goals, and everyone pretty much expected this to be the end for the Dutch, until suddenly, the score equalized and eventually led to a penalty shootout won by Argentina.
Here’s the two-game slate to watch for on Saturday as the final four nations fight to advance to the semifinals:
Quarterfinals: Morocco vs. Portugal
The first quarterfinal match on Saturday will feature Morocco and Portugal. Morocco, which began its World Cup journey in Group F, started with a 0-0 draw with Croatia, which just upset Brazil in their own quarterfinal match on Friday after winning 4-2 in penalty kicks.
Morocco won their next two World Cup matches – first defeating Belgium 2-0, then Canada 2-1 in the group stage. During the round of 16, Morocco managed to upset European powerhouse Spain after a gripping penalty shootout, leading them to Saturday’s matchup against Portugal.
On the other side of things, Portugal, which began its World Cup journey in Group H, clinched victories in its first two group stage matches – a 3-2 win over Ghana followed by a 2-0 victory against Uruguay. Then the squad had a bit of a setback when it lost to South Korea in the final match of the group stage. But Portugal redeemed itself in the round of 16 with a 6-1 domination over Switzerland.
Will Gonçalo Ramos and Rafael Leão knock in some goals past Morocco’s Yassine Bounou en route to a semifinal berth, or will this be the end of the road?
I guess we will have to wait and see. Kick-off time for this fixture is slated for 10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. PT.
Quarterfinals: England vs. France
The last quarterfinal fixture will feature two European powerhouses – England and France. England, who began its World Cup stretch in Group B alongside the U.S., Wales and Iran, started out strong and has managed to continue to do so. Its first game ended in a 6-2 victory over Iran, and its next group stage match resulted in a 0-0 draw with the Stars and Stripes. Then the Three Lions completely wiped out Wales 3-0 for their final group stage game and knocked out Senegal in the round of 16, also 3-0.
Facing the pivotal offensive pillars for England – Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden – will be France. France began its journey alongside Australia, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D. In the group stage, Les Bleus dominated most of their fixtures. They beat Australia 4-1 in their opener and went on to defeat Denmark 2-1. In their final group stage game, they were upset by Tunisia, but sought and achieved redemption when they knocked Poland out of the round of 16.
France’s Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud and Adrien Rabiot have a lot on their plate and we will see it all go down on the pitch. Kick-off time for this matchup is set for 2 p.m. ET, 11 a.m. PT.