Teamwork makes the dream work

Argentina vs. Netherlands, Brazil vs. Croatia

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After a two-day pause, the World Cup returns to motion on Friday because the quarterfinals kick off. Eight groups left within the event, and there are not any scarcity of star energy and intrigue. No matter who strikes on to the semifinals, we actually count on a excessive diploma of drama and heartbreak!

You’ll want to test in with ESPN all through the event as we convey you the most recent from Qatar. This is what you may need missed from Thursday’s World Cup happenings, and a sit up for Friday’s motion.

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World Cup quarterfinals: Put together your self for heartbreak

Because the World Cup progresses, every passing elimination turns into that a lot more durable to abdomen. Cinderellas return to scrubbing flooring, no glass slipper or Golden Boot to point out for his or her heroism that received the hearts of so many neutrals. Favorites slip up, blinded by the brightest highlight within the sport. All of the whereas, the event marches on with out them.

On Friday, two groups’ Qatari fairytales will come to an finish, and nobody goes to be blissful about it. After this two-day hiatus that adopted the spherical of 16, the World Cup returns to motion with the quarterfinals, with Croatia taking over Brazil and the Netherlands going through Argentina. No matter which of these 4 groups advance, there shall be legions of soccer followers sobbing over the 2 who shall be heading residence.

Brazil are at all times, at all times, at all times the neutrals’ favorites, and their eye-catching play and joyful manner on this event can have achieved nothing to vary that. So after all a defeat will take the wind out of the sails of fan zones up and down Qatar, and but, a win will hardly be satisfying for therefore many followers of the sport, as such a end result will certainly finish the worldwide profession of legendary midfielder Luka Modric.

The 37-year-old Croatia captain has received every little thing there may be to win within the membership sport with Actual Madrid, and his particular person achievements have been acknowledged by taking residence the Ballon d’Or in 2018, however a World Cup semifinal that yr in Russia is the closest he is ever come to lifting silverware within the worldwide sport. One in every of trendy soccer’s true artists deserves extra, do not you suppose?

If that is acquired you down, simply wait till the late sport. Are you prepared for Lionel Messi to have performed his final sport in a World Cup ought to they fall to the Dutch? The 35-year-old has hinted that he will not partake within the 2026 version, making this his final alternative to lastly win the one trophy that is eluded him all through his illustrious profession.

There will not be a dry eye at Lusail Stadium if it is confirmed that soccer’s biggest ever by no means did win its largest trophy.



Louis van Gaal jokes about kissing Memphis Depay after Angel Di Maria labelled him because the worst supervisor he is labored with.

And nonetheless, there’s purpose to root for the Dutch. Certain, their antics at South Africa 2010 made them a longstanding enemy of lovely soccer, and the well-known Arjen Robben penalty que no period received them few followers throughout North America, however there’s a feel-good story on this staff in essentially the most unlikely of locations: supervisor Louis van Gaal.

In April, the 71-year-old on his third stint in command of the Netherlands introduced that he is been battling an aggressive type of prostate most cancers, one thing he’d been holding not solely from the general public, but additionally his gamers, in an effort to maintain their deal with qualification for Qatar 2022. Van Gaal has lengthy had a repute, often known as the “Iron Tulip” and mentor to Jose Mourinho, however at this event, he is develop into one thing of a star, turning right into a supply of inspiration for his gamers and the article of affection from all corners of the game.

This has been a welcome 48-hour respite from what’s been essentially the most nonstop World Cup in historical past, however with the quarterfinals looming, everybody is keen to get again to it and see their staff transfer one step nearer to the sport’s holy grail. Simply spare a thought for everybody else who’s going residence as a substitute.



Gab & Juls debate how Croatia will look to arrange towards Brazil within the World Cup quarterfinals.

As Pele backs Brazil, Neymar nears O Rei’s file

A sub-plot to the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Croatia is whether or not Neymar surpasses Pele because the Seleção‘s all-time purpose scorer for the lads’s nationwide staff.

Going into Friday’s match, Neymar has 76 objectives with the senior squad, one shy of Pele’s file of 77 (which does not embrace objectives from unofficial friendlies or towards membership groups). Having scored twice already at this World Cup, it is believable that Neymar — who missed two video games resulting from an ankle damage — might attain the tally as Brazil proceed its unimaginable kind in Qatar.

Nevertheless, he has a protracted option to go earlier than he can lay declare to carry the outright purpose file for his nation, with the legendary Marta scoring 171 objectives and counting for the ladies’s nationwide staff.

Pele’s presence is at all times felt when Brazil takes the pitch, even when he’s not bodily within the stands. In reality, his absence looms even bigger lately because the 82-year-old recovers in a Sao Paulo hospital from a respiratory an infection. The three-time World Cup winner has additionally battled colon most cancers, and was hospitalized final week to reevaluate his remedy. His daughters confirmed that he additionally had COVID-19 and a coronary heart charge beneath regular.

Pele shared a heartfelt message by way of Instagram to the squad forward of the 4-1 win over South Korea within the spherical of 16, with Neymar and Co. reciprocating the gesture by unveiling a banner of help following the sport. And its protected to say that Neymar shall be able to pay homage to O Rei if he does discover the again of the web towards Croatia.

Amid a marketing campaign that has been outlined by stellar midfield play and urgent prowess (and a few joyous purpose celebrations), Neymar surpassing Pele would be the capstone ought to Brazil win a sixth World Cup title.

Your finest bets (odds by way of Caesars Sportsbook)

When you’re trying to wager on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are right here to offer you key suggestions on odds, choices and futures. This is what we have now for the Friday’s matches.

Netherlands (+260) vs. Argentina (+117), Draw (+210)

Paul Carr: Argentina has been so much higher than Netherlands on the event, with an anticipated purpose distinction of +6.6, in comparison with the Dutch at -0.1. There’s some sport state affecting these numbers, however Argentina is just higher at each ends. I am cautious of Louis van Gaal determining a option to decelerate Lionel Messi and firm, however ‘ll take Argentina to win in regulation at +117.

Daniel Thomas: Out of all the quarterfinals I count on this one to be the ugliest. Neither facet has notably impressed so far. I would take the draw after 90 minutes.

Dalen Cuff: I feel Argentina has not been spectacular on this event. They’ve lacked creativity, dynamism and appear too Messi-dependent. The Dutch have not been nice both, however they’ve been medical, with 10 photographs on purpose leading to seven objectives. I feel this match is very tight early. I am going to take beneath 0.5 objectives (+122) within the first half. I might see a draw after 90 minutes as nicely.

Croatia (+800) vs. Brazil (-280), Draw (+370)

Carr: I feel we get objectives on this one. Croatia and Japan might simply have been larger scoring than 1-1 in regulation, and (information flash) Brazil is healthier within the assault than Japan. If Croatia discover a purpose, this one ought to crack broad open with Brazil’s strain and Croatia’s counterattack. If Brazil get one early, they will probably maintain pouring it on, on the lookout for extra. I like over 2.5 objectives at -125.

Thomas: I feel that the win over Japan can have left Croatia considerably exhausted. Brazil then again shall be so contemporary going into the sport. That is a simple win for Brazil, 3-0.

Cuff: I agree with Dan that Croatia, bodily, are at a drawback given how every staff’s round-of-16 matches went. Croatia have solely been scored on twice within the event however Belgium ought to have had not less than three in that sport. I feel Brazil will get the primary purpose right here, forcing Croatia to commit ahead in the long run, and finally profitable by two objectives or extra. I’ll lay the unfold with Brazil -1.5 objectives (-105).

At the moment’s prime reads

How tacos, do-it-yourself salsas and Mexican delicacies are feeding hungry World Cup followers
With the World Cup bringing collectively cultures from across the globe, Mexican delicacies has made an surprising impression in Qatar.

What it is like taking a penalty in a World Cup shootout
ESPN talks to those that’ve achieved it to element what it is prefer to be on the spot and the burden of a nation in your shoulders.

The eight most essential gamers of the quarterfinals (ESPN+)
With eight groups remaining on the World Cup, it is time to drill down and pick the participant on every staff who would be the most impactful.

Information and notes

  • World Cup officers has launched a piece security investigation into the loss of life of a Filipino man following reviews that the person died whereas working at a coaching website. Nasser Al Khater, chief govt of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, confirmed to Reuters {that a} employee had died, however gave no additional particulars. He provided his condolences to his household and mentioned “loss of life is a pure a part of life.” Qatar’s remedy of migrant employees has come beneath monumental scrutiny throughout the build-up to the event, with human rights teams accusing the Gulf state of systematic labour abuses.

  • Portugal‘s Soccer Federation has denied media reviews that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to depart the nationwide staff throughout the World Cup after coach Fernando Santos dropped the captain for his or her spherical of 16 win over Switzerland. Ronaldo, Portugal’s most-capped participant and all-time prime scorer, was benched for his or her first knockout sport on Tuesday as they beat Switzerland 6-1, along with his alternative Goncalo Ramos netting a hat trick.

  • Spain introduced the departure of Luis Enrique as coach of the lads’s nationwide staff on Thursday following the staff’s shock penalty shootout defeat on Tuesday to Morocco within the spherical of 16 on the World Cup in Qatar, and named Luis de la Fuente has his alternative. De la Fuente, 61, guided Spain’s under-19 facet to a European Championship title in 2015 and led the under-21s to the identical honour in 2019, whereas he was in command of the staff that received a silver medal eventually yr’s Tokyo Olympics.

  • Raheem Sterling will rejoin England‘s World Cup squad in Qatar on Friday after flying residence to cope with the fallout of a theft at his home, the Soccer Affiliation has confirmed. The 28-year-old left the camp on Sunday morning following talks with supervisor Gareth Southgate after it emerged he had been the sufferer of not less than one incident at his Surrey residence.

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