Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Ranking of the Four Quarterfinal Matchups in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Ranking of the Four Quarterfinal Matchups in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Eight nations will compete in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be the next stage of the tournament.

Brazil, England, France, Argentina, Portugal, Netherlands, Morocco, and Croatia are all in contention for World Cup success, but each must overcome formidable opponents to realize their aspirations.

But which of the four matchups should provide the finest viewing? Let’s attempt to rank all of them:

4. Brazil vs. Croatia

It seems odd to rate the top-ranked team in FIFA as the worst of the four, but Brazil is not totally to blame. Croatia enters the match as the 2018 runner-up, but that status has not carried much weight thus far in 2022.

The Vatreni opened Group F with a goalless draw against Morocco, then defeated Canada 4-1 before tying Belgium goalless. Then, in the round of 16, penalties were required to defeat Japan after regular and extra time ended 1-1.

The 4-1 is an anomalous outperformance in front of goal, as Croatia have not met earlier expectations.

This lack of scoring could be an issue against a Brazilian defense that has held firm for the most part. Brazil’s A-team did not allow a goal or a shot on goal against Serbia and Switzerland, and the Seleco strolled to a 4-1 victory over South Korea in the round of 16.

South Korea’s lone goal was a stunning strike from outside the box that partially bounced off a defender’s back. All four goals were scored in the first half. This will undoubtedly be a solid game from a neutral standpoint, yet it ranks last.

3. Portugal vs. Morocco

In its first-ever quarterfinal appearance, the darkhorse of 2022 will attempt to create more magic. Morocco has been the team of destiny thus far in Qatar, having topped Group F, which included Canada, Croatia, and Belgium.

After holding La Furia Roja scoreless through regulation and extra time, the Atlas Lions defeated La Furia Roja on penalty kicks. Morocco’s main concern will be scoring enough goals to defeat Portugal. 

Yes, the only goal they conceded in Qatar was an own goal against Canada, but you need to create opportunities to score goals to win games. With the exception of Qatar, Morocco ranks 31st in the competition in terms of predicted goals and will require another immaculate defensive effort to defeat Portugal.

Portugal, on the other hand, are coming off a 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland in which Goncalo Ramos scored the tournament’s first hat trick after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup. Fernando Santos’ substitution reinvigorated the team’s inventiveness with the ball and their end product in the final third, which they lacked when Ronaldo started in group play.

Portugal also has the advantage of rest, since Santos substituted out his top players with time to spare, whilst Morocco will have fitness difficulties after 120 minutes of predominantly defensive play. Nayef Aguerd and Romain Sass were noticeably affected by lower-leg injuries late in the game. Has Morocco yet another surprise in store?

2. Argentina vs. Netherlands

Two known international powerhouses will compete in a contest that should be close. After a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia, Argentina rebounded with two consecutive victories to finish first in Group C and advance to the round of 16. They then defeated Australia 2-1 in the round of 16.

However, this highlights La Albiceleste’s primary issue: they have yet to resemble a title contender. Apart from Lionel Messi’s bursts of brilliance and Julian Avarez’s two clutch goals, Argentina has appeared extremely vulnerable to defeat. This will undoubtedly be their greatest task to date.

In addition to being a great team on paper, the Netherlands have yet to secure a convincing victory in Qatar. The Dutch waited 84 minutes to score against Senegal, had only one shot on target in a 1-1 draw with Ecuador, and should have won by more than 2-0 against Qatar.

They defeated the United States 3-1, but results do not often reveal the whole story. The Oranje may boast a star-studded defense, but without Cody Gakpo’s breakout performance in front of the net, they would be another superpower on the verge of collapse. In each of their biggest games to date, one of the two will fall victim to their weaknesses.

1. England vs. France

On paper, this is by far the best matchup Qatar has presented. With victories of 6-2 against Iran, 3-0 over Wales, and 3-0 over Senegal, England has largely strolled through the competition.

The only problem the Three Lions had was a 0-0 tie against the United States, and Gareth Southgate will have his hands full with Kylian Mbappé now in the picture. The bright side is that Harry Kane has not scored all of the team’s goals.

Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford each had three goals, while 19-year-old Jude Bellingham is displaying world-class talent in the center of the field. England has been the second-most balanced squad in Qatar, behind only Brazil, but the defense, particularly right back Kyle Walker, will need to be on point.

France are the defending champions and deserve all the acclaim they receive. However, the team has suffered several injuries in preparation for the competition and is currently dependent on Mbappé to score goals from the left wing.

His fast bursts and acceleration in open space have wreaked havoc on defenders thus far, but take him out of the equation and Les Bleus are vulnerable. It is no accident that France lost 1-0 against Tunisia the one occasion he did not start. Can his unique talent continue to lead the way, or will someone else seize the spotlight?

Ranking of the Four Quarterfinal Matchups in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Ranking of the Four Quarterfinal Matchups in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

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