Argentina vs. Netherlands, Brazil vs. Croatia


After a two-day pause, the World Cup returns to motion on Friday because the quarterfinals kick off. Eight groups are left within the event, and there’s no scarcity of star energy and intrigue. Regardless of who strikes on to the semifinals, we actually count on a excessive diploma of drama and heartbreak!

Be positive to verify in with ESPN all through the event as we carry you the most recent from Qatar. Here’s what you may need missed from Thursday’s World Cup happenings, and a stay up for Friday’s motion.

– World Cup information, options, previews and extra
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World Cup quarterfinals: Prepare your self for heartbreak

As the World Cup progresses, every passing elimination turns into that a lot tougher to abdomen. Cinderellas return to scrubbing flooring with no glass slipper or Golden Boot to indicate for his or her heroism that gained the hearts of so many neutrals. Favorites slip up, blinded by the brightest highlight within the sport. All the whereas, the event marches on with out them.

On Friday, two groups’ Qatari fairy tales will come to an finish, and nobody goes to be joyful about it. After this two-day hiatus that adopted the spherical of 16, the World Cup returns to motion with the quarterfinals, with Croatia taking over Brazil and the Netherlands going through Argentina. Regardless of which of these 4 groups advance, there shall be legions of soccer followers sobbing over the 2 who shall be heading house.

Brazil are all the time, all the time, all the time the neutrals’ favorites, and their eye-catching play and joyful manner on this event can have completed nothing to alter that. A defeat would take the wind out of the sails of fan zones up and down Qatar, and but, a win would hardly be satisfying for therefore many followers of the sport, as such a consequence would absolutely finish the worldwide profession of legendary midfielder Luka Modric.

The 37-year-old Croatia captain has gained all the pieces there may be to win within the membership sport with Real Madrid, and his particular person achievements have been acknowledged by taking house the Ballon d’Or in 2018, however a World Cup ultimate that yr in Russia is the closest he has ever come to lifting silverware within the worldwide sport. One of recent soccer’s true artists deserves extra, do not you assume?

If that is acquired you down, simply wait till the late sport. Are you prepared for Lionel Messi to have performed his final sport in a World Cup ought to they fall to the Dutch? The 35-year-old has hinted that he will not partake within the 2026 version, making this his final alternative to lastly win the one trophy that has eluded him all through his illustrious profession.

There will not be a dry eye at Lusail Stadium if it is confirmed that maybe soccer’s best ever won’t ever have gained its greatest trophy.



Louis van Gaal jokes about kissing Memphis Depay after Angel Di Maria labelled him because the worst supervisor he is labored with.

And nonetheless, there’s motive to root for the Dutch. Sure, their antics at South Africa 2010 made them a longstanding enemy of gorgeous soccer, and the well-known Arjen Robben penalty que no period gained them few followers throughout North America, however there’s a feel-good story on this crew in essentially the most unlikely of locations: supervisor Louis van Gaal.

In April, the 71-year-old on his third stint answerable for the Netherlands introduced that he is been battling an aggressive type of prostate most cancers, one thing he’d been preserving not solely from the general public, but additionally his gamers, in an effort to maintain their deal with qualification for Qatar 2022. Van Gaal has lengthy had a status, often known as the “Iron Tulip” and mentor to Jose Mourinho, however at this event, he is change into one thing of a celeb, turning right into a supply of inspiration for his gamers and the item of affection from all corners of the game.

This has been a welcome 48-hour respite from what’s been essentially the most nonstop World Cup in historical past, however with the quarterfinals looming, everybody is keen to get again to it and see their crew transfer one step nearer to the sport’s holy grail. Just spare a thought for everybody else who’s going house as a substitute.



Gab & Juls debate how Croatia will look to arrange towards Brazil within the World Cup quarterfinals.

As Pele backs Brazil, Neymar nears O Rei’s file

A sub-plot to the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Croatia is whether or not Neymar surpasses Pele because the Seleção‘s all-time purpose scorer for the boys’s nationwide crew.

Going into Friday’s match, Neymar has 76 objectives with the senior squad, one shy of Pele’s file of 77 (which does not embody objectives from unofficial friendlies or towards membership groups). Having scored twice already at this World Cup, it is believable that Neymar — who missed two video games as a result of an ankle damage — might attain the tally as Brazil proceed its unbelievable type in Qatar.

However, he has a protracted option to go earlier than he can lay declare to carry the outright purpose file for his nation, with the legendary Marta scoring 171 objectives and counting for the ladies’s nationwide crew.

Pele’s presence is all the time felt when Brazil takes the pitch, even when he isn’t bodily within the stands. In reality, his absence looms even bigger today because the 82-year-old recovers in a Sao Paulo hospital from a respiratory an infection. The three-time World Cup winner has additionally battled colon most cancers, and was hospitalized final week to reevaluate his remedy. His daughters confirmed that he additionally had COVID-19 and a coronary heart price under regular.

Pele shared a heartfelt message by way of Instagram to the squad forward of the 4-1 win over South Korea within the spherical of 16, with Neymar and Co. reciprocating the gesture by unveiling a banner of assist following the sport. And its protected to say that Neymar shall be able to pay homage to O Rei if he does discover the again of the online towards Croatia.

Amid a marketing campaign that has been outlined by stellar midfield play and urgent prowess (and a few joyous purpose celebrations), Neymar surpassing Pele would be the capstone ought to Brazil win a sixth World Cup title.

Your finest bets (odds by way of Caesars Sportsbook)

If you are seeking to wager on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are right here to provide you key tips about odds, choices and futures. Here’s what we now have for the Friday’s matches.

Netherlands (+260) vs. Argentina (+117), Draw (+210)

Paul Carr: Argentina has been lots higher than Netherlands on the event, with an anticipated purpose distinction of +6.6, in comparison with the Dutch at -0.1. There’s some sport state affecting these numbers, however Argentina is just higher at each ends. I’m cautious of Louis van Gaal determining a option to decelerate Lionel Messi and firm, however ‘ll take Argentina to win in regulation at +117.

Daniel Thomas: Out of the entire quarterfinals I count on this one to be the ugliest. Neither facet has notably impressed up to now. I’d take the draw after 90 minutes.

Dalen Cuff: I believe Argentina has not been spectacular on this event. They’ve lacked creativity, dynamism and appear too Messi-dependent. The Dutch have not been nice both, however they’ve been scientific, with 10 photographs on purpose leading to seven objectives. I believe this match is particularly tight early. I’ll take below 0.5 objectives (+122) within the first half. I might see a draw after 90 minutes as nicely.

Croatia (+800) vs. Brazil (-280), Draw (+370)

Carr: I believe we get objectives on this one. Croatia and Japan might simply have been greater scoring than 1-1 in regulation, and (information flash) Brazil is best within the assault than Japan. If Croatia discover a purpose, this one ought to crack vast open with Brazil’s stress and Croatia’s counterattack. If Brazil get one early, they will doubtless preserve pouring it on, in search of extra. I like over 2.5 objectives at -125.

Thomas: I believe that the win over Japan can have left Croatia considerably exhausted. Brazil however shall be so recent going into the sport. This is a simple win for Brazil, 3-0.

Cuff: I agree with Dan that Croatia, bodily, are at an obstacle given how every crew’s round-of-16 matches went. Croatia have solely been scored on twice within the event however Belgium ought to have had a minimum of three in that sport. I believe Brazil will get the primary purpose right here, forcing Croatia to commit ahead in the long run, and finally profitable by two objectives or extra. I’m going to put the unfold with Brazil -1.5 objectives (-105).

Today’s high reads

How tacos, selfmade salsas and Mexican delicacies are feeding hungry World Cup followers
With the World Cup bringing collectively cultures from across the globe, Mexican delicacies has made an surprising affect in Qatar.

What it is like taking a penalty in a World Cup shootout
ESPN talks to those that’ve completed it to element what it is wish to be on the spot and the burden of a nation in your shoulders.

The eight most essential gamers of the quarterfinals (ESPN+)
With eight groups remaining on the World Cup, it is time to drill down and select the participant on every crew who would be the most impactful.

News and notes

  • World Cup officers has launched a piece security investigation into the loss of life of a Filipino man following experiences that the person died whereas working at a coaching website. Nasser Al Khater, chief govt of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, confirmed to Reuters {that a} employee had died, however gave no additional particulars. He supplied his condolences to his household and mentioned “death is a natural part of life.” Qatar’s remedy of migrant employees has come below huge scrutiny in the course of the build-up to the event, with human rights teams accusing the Gulf state of systematic labour abuses.

  • Portugal’s Football Federation has denied media experiences that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to go away the nationwide crew in the course of the World Cup after coach Fernando Santos dropped the captain for his or her spherical of 16 win over Switzerland. Ronaldo, Portugal’s most-capped participant and all-time high scorer, was benched for his or her first knockout sport on Tuesday as they beat Switzerland 6-1, along with his substitute Goncalo Ramos netting a hat trick.

  • Spain introduced the departure of Luis Enrique as coach of the boys’s nationwide crew on Thursday following the crew’s shock penalty shootout defeat on Tuesday to Morocco within the spherical of 16 on the World Cup in Qatar, and named Luis de la Fuente has his substitute. De la Fuente, 61, guided Spain’s under-19 facet to a European Championship title in 2015 and led the under-21s to the identical honour in 2019, whereas he was answerable for the crew that gained a silver medal eventually yr’s Tokyo Olympics.

  • Raheem Sterling will rejoin England’s World Cup squad in Qatar on Friday after flying house to cope with the fallout of a theft at his home, the Football Association has confirmed. The 28-year-old left the camp on Sunday morning following talks with supervisor Gareth Southgate after it emerged he had been the sufferer of a minimum of one incident at his Surrey house.


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