FIFA World Cup 2022: The story of week four

Thirty-two qualified teams took to the pitch in the beginning of the FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup. Thus far, sixty-two matches have taken place on this tournament, and now we’re all the way down to the remaining finalists.

We now have seen sensible quarter-final and semi-final games, and it has been a surprising final week of football in Qatar.

Messi’s machine rolls on as Brazil crashes out.

The quarter-final stage got off to an explosive start as favourites Brazil were shocked by Croatia at Education City Stadium. Tipped by many to go all the best way, the South Americans were stifled by the solid defensive organisation of Croatia for much of regulation time. After 90 minutes, it was goalless, which meant one other half-hour were on the best way.

Brazil did eventually get the initial breakthrough. Neymar burst through Croatia’s backline, and took the ball around goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and scored what felt like an important goal. But there was a twist in the story as Bruno Petkovic scored, making Croatia level with just three minutes of time beyond regulation to play and forcing either side to a penalty shoot-out. Rodrygo and Maquinhos missed crucial penalties, which dumped the favourites out and put Croatia into the semi-finals for the second World Cup in a row.

Meanwhile, at Lusail Stadium, Argentina faced the Netherlands in a replay of the famous 1998 quarter-final. The Dutch won that yr, but this yr it was Argentina that pushed forward in one other game that went to penalties. But that is only half of the story.

The Argentines found themselves 2-0 up with ten minutes to go, but a double strike from substitute Wout Weghorst took the sport to time beyond regulation in the ultimate stages. Tempers flared because the game was prolonged by thirty minutes. There have been arguments and many rough tackles as emotions appeared to be at an all-time high, but Argentina held it together when it got here to the shoot-out. Lautaro Martinez, who has been criticised for his lack of leading edge on this tournament, scored the winning penalty to establish a semi-final with Croatia.

Morocco shock Portugal – France squeeze past England

Morocco’s fairytale continued as they caused one other massive shock within the quarter-final at Al Thumama Stadium. Having stayed defensively resolute and knocking Spain out on penalties within the round of 16, the Moroccans had their sights set on becoming the primary African team ever to make a semi-final after they got here up against Portugal.

Morocco has been praised for his or her defensive record after only conceding one goal within the tournament, an own goal against Canada. At times though, they needed more pace going forward. Nevertheless, this wasn’t the case on Saturday as Youssef El-Nesyri leapt higher than the remaining to get on the tip of Yahia Attiyat Allah’s cross. The Moroccan-heavy crowd went wild as their side managed to see the sport out with one more clean sheet and progress to the semi-finals.

Later that evening, the quarter-final was probably the most anticipated game at Al Bayt stadium, as France got here out 2-1 winners against England. Aurelien Tchouameni’s sensible first-half strike gave the champions the lead, only to be cancelled out by an early Harry Kane penalty after the break. But record goalscorer Olivier Giroud restored France’s lead with 12 minutes to play and ensured their assured passage through to the semi-finals again.

England team captain Harry Kane did have one other likelihood to level things from the spot, however the pressure was too great this time, and he blasted his penalty over the bar. The England men’s side crashed out of the tournament, setting their sights on the subsequent major trophy.

The semi-finals don’t disappoint

Argentina found their semi-final against Croatia so much more straightforward, running out 3-0 winners back at Lusail stadium. Team captain Lionel Messi stole the show once more with a goal and a magical assist, setting himself up with a date with destiny on Sunday 18th of December, on the World Cup final.

It implies that Sunday’s showpiece game will likely be between the legendary Lionel Messi and the world’s best young player, Kylian Mbappe. Will we see a symbolic changing of the guard with Mbappe beating Messi, or will experience trump youth for one last big win?


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