world-cup-2022-quarterfinals-preview

World Cup 2022 Quarterfinals Preview

Story posted December 8, 2022 in

The group stage in the 2022 World Cup was one of the most exciting ones in the history of the tournament. A majority of the field was able to qualify for the knockout stages going into their final match day and this led to a lot of underdogs making the final 16.

But most of these Cinderella stories came to an end at the hands of international powerhouses.

The first of these being the USA, which fell to the Netherlands. The US’s poor finishing caught up to it, converting just one of its 17 shots. This combined with its poor marking led to a 3-1 victory for the Dutch.

France continued its run to repeat as champions despite being ridden by injuries. Forward Olivier Giroud became France’s all-time leading scorer with a goal against Poland and Kylian Mbappé added a brace in the 3-1 win over Poland to continue his run for the Golden Boot.

Japan and Croatia faced off in one of the most tightly contested matches in Qatar so far. Japan was unable to make competitive shots when it went to the penalty shootout, allowing Croatia to advance.

Spain relived its 2018 World Cup nightmare by controlling most of the possession against Morocco and again getting knocked out in the round of 16 on penalties. Moroccan fullback Achraf Hakimi, who went through Real Madrid’s youth academy, converted the game-winning penalty kick to send Spain home.

After dominating Australia, Argentina will play the Netherlands in a 2014 semifinal rematch. The Netherlands squad has been completely revamped since that loss, and it’ll be the best team that Argentina has faced in Qatar.

The Dutch striker pair of Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo have built a lot of chemistry in this World Cup and have made the Netherlands a dangerous attacking team.

But Argentina looks poised to make one more run in Lionel Messi’s last World Cup. Forward Julián Álvarez has stepped up by scoring goals in his last two matches.

After routing Senegal, England will face France in one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament. Besides its draw against the US, England has dominated the opposition by outscoring them 12-2 in its four matches.

England is getting contributions from a majority of its squad, as it has eight different players with a goal. France is going to face a tough task on Saturday, even with its usual heroes stepping up in big moments recently.

Brazil is another team that dominated its round of 16 opponent in a 4-1 victory over South Korea. All four of Brazil's goals came in the first half, but still had plenty of chances in the second half.

Croatia will look to start another underdog run against the Brazilians on Friday. Midfielder Luka Modrić has been the driving force for Croatia again and is the reason they’ve made it this far.

But the Brazilian players seem to have so much chemistry and have proven they have one of the most dangerous attacks in the world. It’s hard to see them losing this match and not making a run to the final.

Portugal dominated Switzerland 6-1 off a Gonçalo Ramos hat trick in his first World Cup start. They’ll take on Morocco who has captured the hearts of the world.

Morocco has proven it can compete with the world’s top talent and possibly play better than its first four games. Its defense has been extremely impressive as it has only allowed six shots on goal in the tournament.

But Portugal has proven that it can not only win without Cristiano Ronaldo, but also dominate without him. The forwards have played beautifully in the attacking third and will be able to give Morocco’s stout defense scares.

With most of the eight teams going into their matchups with a lot of momentum, the quarterfinals are shaping up to be the most exciting matchups of the tournament.

Jayson O’Connell is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jbo5216@psu.edu.