Battle for semi-finals open with South America versus Europe pairings

0
262

The FIFA World Cup 2022 quarter-finals kick off today with 2018 runners-up Croatia taking on record champions Brazil.

Croatia have won their previous two FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, 3-0 versus Germany in 1998 and 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Russia in 2018.

Their record at the finals against South American sides is a win and four losses.

Their most recent contest was the 3-0 defeat of Argentina at the Russia 2018 World Cup. But their encounters with Brazil paint a different picture.

The teams have met four times before, a draw preceding three Brazil victories, two of those in opening FIFA World Cup group fixtures, 1-0 in 2006 and 3-1 in 2014, when Neymar scored twice on his finals debut.

Brazil have won eight and lost five of their previous FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, three of the defeats having come in the past four tournaments – all against European teams.

Furthermore, they have not beaten European opponents in the knockout phase since their 2002 final triumph against Germany, losing all five such encounters since.

Will the trend continue today?

In the other quarterfinals of the day, in the course of getting to the current stage, The Netherlands have a unique passage, facing continental champions.

In the process, they have already beaten the champions of Africa (Senegal), Asia (Qatar) and Concacaf (USA) at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Now they are bidding to add another to their list – South American title holders Argentina, who have reached the quarter-finals following successive wins against Mexico, Poland and Australia.

The teams have met five times before at the FIFA World Cup. The most notable encounter was the 1978 final, which Argentina won 3-1 after extra time in Buenos Aires to lift the trophy for the first time.

The South American side also came out on top in the most recent fixture, 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the 2014 semi-final, when Louis van Gaal was also in charge of the Oranje.