2022 FIFA World Cup: Latest Info for Quarterfinals

Norah Anderson, Writer

One of the World Cup Stadiums in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup (Creative Commons License)

Eight teams are left standing after the cutthroat Round of 16 that followed a thrilling group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. That means that of the 32 teams that entered, 24 have been eliminated– and soon, seven more will be.

To no surprise, the international soccer event has swept across the globe, even sparking the attention of around 12 million Americans according to The Athletic sports media site.

Though the United States lost to the Netherlands 3-1 on December 3rd, many U.S. fans continue to stay engaged as the most famous soccer tournament among nations heats up. But whether you’re an avid soccer fan or just someone who’s curious about what exactly all the rage is about, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming quarterfinals in Qatar:

Fans from all over the world came to support the 32 nations who competed in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group Stage (Creative Commons License)

The action is set to begin on Friday, December 9 at 10:00 A.M. ET as Brazil faces Croatia. The highly-energetic Brazil team won their bracket in the group stage with a total of 6 points, beating out close contenders Switzerland and Cameroon.

Known for their unmatchable team chemistry and post-goal team dance celebrations, Brazil is hallmarked by confidence and swift footskills. 25-year-old Richarlson and 30-year-old Neymar are both certainly players to watch out for; adept at finishing, Richarlson has proven an invaluable player for Brazil, while Neymar, the timeless fan-favorite, has shown once again his mastery of the art of fancy feet.

On the other hand, Croatia is looking just as formidable. Coming second in their group with 5 points (right behind Morocco holding 7), Croatia’s midfield is long experienced and holds masterful technical ability. According to their head coach  Zlatko Dalic, Croatia plans to try and thwart Brazil’s winning streak by playing a possession game.

One Croatia player to know is 30-year-old Marcelo Brozovic, who is most prized for his work rate and creativity in the central midfield. Against Japan in the Round of 16, Brozovic ran a jaw-dropping total of 10 miles, breaking the record (which he had previously set) for the greatest distance covered in a World Cup Game according to ESPN. In any matter, stay tuned for what’s sure to be one of the toughest games that we have seen yet so far.

 

The official logo fo the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (Creative Commons License)On that same Friday, Argentina is set to play The Netherlands at 2:00 P.M. ET. Both teams won their group stage brackets, Argentina with 7 points and the Netherlands with 6.

One of the teams that stands out most, Argentina is known for Lionel Messi, whom some consider to be one of, or even the, best soccer player the world has ever seen. 35-year-old Messi is likely playing in his last world cup and seems driven to bring victory home with him and his team one last time. So far in Qatar, Messi has scored 3 goals, though some remark the team as a whole leans too heavily on the aging star.

Even more, The Netherlands’ incredibly strong defense is set on shutting down Messi’s speed and unmatchable dribbling– the question remains if they will be able to do so. Known for being strict and rigid in their 3-5-2 formation, the Netherlands play a very different game than the more fluid Argentinians, but perhaps win the hand in having more depth as a whole. Without a doubt, Messi and Argentina will have their hands full with the disciplined Netherlands squad.

Next up, on Saturday, December 10 at 10:00 A.M. ET, is Morocco versus Portugal. Both great opponents, Morocco recently advanced after a grueling win against Spain in the Round of 16, winning their group stage bracket with 7 points. Portugal likewise won their bracket with 6 points and recently defeated Switzerland to advance to the Sweet 16.

Players to watch out for in the Morocco squad are midfielder and 22-year-old Azzedine Ouhani, right back Achraf Hakimi, and Hakim Ziyech, a winger who plays for Chelsea F.C. in the English Premier League.

According to their coach, all of them will make a big difference in the game, especially Ouhani, whose ball-winning skills in the midfield have been essential to Morocco’s progression so far. Cristiano Ronaldo is the first name that comes to mind when the Portuguese team is mentioned. The 37-year-old forward is world-renowned, even arguably just as good or better than Messi, and will surely keep the Moroccan defense on their toes once the game kicks off. A win against Portugal on Saturday would make the Moroccans the first African team to reach the semifinals after Cameroon, Senegal, and Ghana have all lost in previous years’ quarterfinals.

One of the many new soccer stadiums built in Qatar in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup (Creative Commons License)

Last but not least, England plays France on Saturday, December 10, at 2:00 P.M. ET. The two adjacent countries won their respective group brackets, setting up one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2022 quarterfinals.

Though they play a possession game, England and 29-year-old star Harry Kane will need to work on breaking down barriers if they hope to defeat France.

On that topic, France has restructured their midfield after a string of injuries, leaving them with a middle stronghold that is inventive yet fresh. Kylian Mbappe is certainly expected to make waves in the upcoming game. The 23-year-old forward is considered by some to be the best rising player in the world right now– he will undoubtedly have many high expectations to live up to in the game against England.

As the 2022 World Cup begins its final stages, make sure to turn on your TV  (or iPhone if you’ll be in school), switch on Fox or Telemundo, and settle in to watch the most exciting games in the world right now!