World Cup 2022 – What Happened In the Quarter-Finals

This World Cup’s quarter-finals had everything to offer, from last-minute equalisers to penalty shootout drama, with shocking upsets to make World Cup history. Here we explore everything that happened in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals.

Croatia 1-1 Brazil (4-2 Pens)

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The quarter-finals started off in style, as Croatia faced the uphill battle of defeating a Brazilian side full of attacking flair.

However, this game did not go as smoothly as the Brazilians may have hoped, as Croatia closed off the spaces that Brazil could attack successfully.

The first half was relatively even, with neither side dominating possession or creating a seismic opportunity to score. This did change, however, as Brazil looked more potent in the second half, creating more opportunities against a Croatian team that did not manage a shot on target. But despite Brazil’s best efforts to open the scoring, the game stayed in a deadlock and headed into extra time.

But the deadlock was well and truly smashed open in extra time, as Neymar Jr. managed to keep his composure and balance, as he took the ball around Dominik Livakovic under severe pressure and belted the ball into the roof of the net, giving Brazil a precious 1-0 lead.

With Croatia looking like they had given all they had, it seemed like they were on a one-way trip out of the tournament. But in the 117th minute, Bruno Petkovic let one fly, taking a nasty deflection that took it past Alisson and equaled the scoring, sending both teams into the dreaded penalty shootout.

Croatia was clinical from the spot, dispatching all four that they took, with Brazil missing two of their four efforts, leaving Neymar Jr. without taking a penalty for his side and sending the favourites crashing out of the tournament.

Croatia faces Argentina in the semi-final where once again the odds will be against them to qualify for back-to-back finals, a game where they will likely play a similar style, hoping to deny the Argentinians of any space in attacking areas.

Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (3-4 Pens)

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A bitter affair between two teams with a point to prove and a desperation to make the semi-finals, saw Netherlands and Argentina battle to the death.

Argentina controlled the first half, as Lionel Messi picked out an incisive pass that found Nahuel Molina goalside of Daley Blind, poking the ball beyond Andries Noppert to send Argentina into the ascendancy.

The second half was once again controlled by the Argentinians for the majority of the time, with Denzel Dumfries conceding a penalty for the Netherlands after bringing down Marcos Acuna inside the penalty area. A penalty that Lionel Messi stepped up to take, whipping it into the side netting and doubling Argentina’s lead in the 73rd minute.

There looked no way back for the Netherlands after bringing off Memphis Depay for Wout Weghorst in the 78th minute and being 2-0 down. But as Argentina began to sit deeper, the Dutch used Weghorst, Luuk De Jong, and Virgil Van Dijk as target men, giving the Argentinian defence all sorts of problems to deal with, losing their control over the match.

And it did not take long for Weghorst to make an impact, as he emphatically guided a header into the bottom corner in the 83rd minute, giving his side a lifeline. With the final kick of the game being a freekick on the edge of the box, Teun Koopmeiners guided the ball into Weghorst’s feet, pulling the ball into the far corner and equalising it with the last kick of the game.

This forced the Argentinians to step up their game in extra time, as they regained their poise on the ball and began to control the game again. Despite creating the better chances of the two in extra time, Argentina could not break the deadlock and went into a penalty shootout with all the pressure on them to deliver.

Pressure that Emiliano Martinez responded greatly to, stopping both of the Netherlands’ first attempts from the spot and helping his side to win a penalty shootout that would send them into the semi-finals to face Croatia. A game where a little bit of magic from Argentina’s number 10 may be needed to pick the lock of an awkward Croatian side, that will refuse to give up easy chances.

Morocco 1-0 Portugal

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Morocco has once again shocked the entire footballing world by knocking out another major nation from the tournament and becoming the first African side to ever qualify for the semi-finals of a World Cup.

Portugal dominated the possession in the first half, but it was Morocco who carved out the best opportunity of the half. The chance came from a mistake by Diogo Costa that cost Portugal dearly, leaving Youssef En-Nesyri to head the ball into an empty net and fire Morocco into the lead on the stroke of halftime.

The second half again saw Portugal dominate copious amounts of possession, however, were not clinical enough to punish Morocco when creating their chances and despite Morocco going down to ten men, they held on to secure progression into the semi-finals.

The next giant for the North Africans to slay is France, a team full of quality and will be the strongest outfit they will face in the competition so far. Morocco will play the same way as they have throughout the tournament, not allowing players of danger in spaces that can hurt their backline, and will look to keep the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele away from their penalty area.

England 1-2 France

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France knock England out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals, in a highly anticipated fixture between two sides that contain immense attacking qualities.

The first half of this matchup was largely controlled by France, as Aurelien Tchouameni’s strike nestled into the bottom corner of England’s goal, giving the French the early lead.

However, England responded in the second half, playing inside of France’s half more and crafting opportunities.

England’s risks were rewarded when an intelligence piece of interplay between Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham saw Saka fouled inside the area. A penalty kick that Harry Kane buried into the side netting, leveling the score.

But England was eventually punished, as the inability to close down Antoine Griezmann’s cross into the box, lead to Olivier Giroud powering a header into the net and sending England back into a one-goal deficit.

A helping hand was offered to England by Theo Hernandez, as the French fullback unnecessarily bulldozed Mason Mount to the ground, giving them a second penalty of the match. But this time, Harry Kane could not finish his second penalty with the vigor of his first, agonisingly blazing the ball over the crossbar, with maybe the ball coming home at the end, but not the World Cup.

Next up for France is Morocco where they will be sizeable favourites to progress through to the final. However, facing a side that has knocked out Spain and Portugal in their last two games and has beaten Belgium this World Cup, Morocco will be far from a walkover for this French side.

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