2022 World Cup quarter-finals recap; Croatia & Argentina advance

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The first of two days of quarter-final action at the 2022 World Cup had all sorts of drama. Both matches would go to penalty shootouts to determine who would make the final four and ensured that two nations would feature on the final weekend of the tournament as well! 2018 runners-up, Croatia, and the nation led by the GOAT Lionel Messi, Argentina, were triumphant.

World Cup
Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates his goal during the FIFA World Cup match Australia v Argentina on December 3, 2022, in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Fotoarena/Imago/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

World Cup Quarter-finals: Croatia and Argentina are on to semi-finals

World Cup Quarter-finals: Croatia (4) 1 – 1 (2) Brazil

Croatia has been one of the best teams at the 2022 World Cup, not necessarily because of their ability to win games, but because of their team organization and mental strength. They can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the world and get a result to move on. That is exactly what they did against mighty Brazil in the quarter-finals.

In a match that saw Brazil have the majority of the chances, Croatia relied on their defensive prowess. Brazil took 21 shots 11 of which were on target in the match; their expected goals were at a high of 2.55%, but they’d only find the back of the net once, and it was in extra time. A beautiful worked display led to a Neymar goal in the 105th minute to give Brazil the lead, but Croatia rallied at the end of extra time. A 117th-minute goal from Bruno Petkovic tied the game and forced it to penalties.

Croatia are penalty specialists and seem to have the mental advantage when it comes to spot kicks. They kicked first and converted and then stopped Brazil’s first taker. The advantage carried on, and the pressure mounted on Brazil, as Croatia converted all of their kicks. Needing to make their fourth just to stay alive, Brazil missed and was knocked out. Croatia makes the semi-finals for the second straight World Cup, while pre-tournament favorite Brazil falls short once again.

Highlights

World Cup Quarter-finals: Netherlands (3) 2 – 2 (4) Argentina

In a rivalry that always seems to turn up at the World Cup, The Netherlands and Argentina met in a winner take all match that had plenty of sparks of entertainment. It started in the first half as Argentina found the lead thanks to a Nahuel Molina goal in the 35th minute. The Argentines were all over the Dutch, and it looked like they’d get a dominant 2-0 win after Lionel Messi slotted home a penalty kick in the 73rd minute.

However, the match was far from over as the Netherlands would get one goal back in the 83rd minute thanks to a Wout Weghorst strike. The match then went on, and after the 90, 10 added minutes were given, but 12 would actually be played. In the 11th added minute, the Dutch had a freekick that they worked beautifully for a goal. They rolled the ball into the box when everyone thought a shot was coming and then Weghorst was there once again to strike on surprised Argentina. It was 2-2 and went to extra time!

Both teams tired in the extra 30 minutes they had to play, and the game went to penalty kicks. The Dutch came up first and their captain Virgil van Dijk had his shot saved by Emiliano Martinez. Messi would then make his pen for Argentina, and Martinezstpeed up big again to stop the Netherlands second taker. After two more rounds of both nations making kicks, it was 3-1 in favor of Argentina. Enzo Fernandez then missed for the Argentines giving the Dutch some life after round four of kicks as it was 3-3.

Lautaro Martinez came up for Argentina’s fifth kick, converting it meant that he’d send Argentina to the semis of the World Cup, and that’s exactly what he did. Argentina make the semi-finals, sending home a strong Netherlands team in the process!

Highlights

Argentina vs Croatia in the semi-final

Argentina faces off against Croatia in what will be a fantastic matchup of powerhouses. People tend to overlook Croatia, and the nation uses it as a motivation. Will they be able to keep finding a way to grind matches out and get to a second straight final? Argentina is looking like a collective team who can outclass their opponent. Can they do this to a strong defensive team like Croatia? If so, Messi will likely be involved in breaking down the European giants.

  • Kickoff time: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2 pm ET

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Mandatory Credit: Fotoarena/Imago/Icon Sportswire

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