Teamwork makes the dream work

Croatia upset Brazil, Argentina beat Netherlands

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In a World Cup that has seen some upsets and stunners, we had our largest but! Brazil, led by Neymar and the favorites to win all of it in Qatar, was eradicated within the quarterfinals by Croatia on penalties. Now, the 2018 World Cup runners-up purpose to oust Lionel Messi and Argentina, who fended off the Netherlands (additionally on penalties) to achieve the semifinals.

And the enjoyable will not cease we count on loads of fireworks in Saturday’s video games on the opposite facet of bracket. Will Morocco proceed its dream run and get previous Portugal? And can France and Kylian Mbappe maintain his Golden Boot marketing campaign and repeat title hopes towards England?

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

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Taylor Twellman lays into Brazil’s “inexcusable” defeat to Croatia within the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Finish of period for Brazil? Neymar equals Pele in upset to Croatia

It appear to be the proper script was being written. In a recreation that had gone to added extra-time and with a spot to the semifinals on the road, Neymar‘s close-range aim after some great attacking play gave Brazil a late lead towards Croatia. Not solely it appeared sufficient to shut out the sport, it put Neymar degree with legend Pele at 77 objectives for many scored in Brazil males’s group historical past.

However then got here the primary re-write. Croatia, who hadn’t a shot on track all recreation, tied the sport when Bruno Petkovic‘s shot took a deflection and nestled into the again of the online within the 117th minute.

After which the entire script was flipped as the sport got here right down to a penalty shootout. Brazil got here undone, with Rodrygo‘s try saved by keeper Dominik Livakovic and Marquinhos bouncing his shot off the submit, whereas Croatia transformed all of theirs to say a memorable 4-2 win after the 1-1 stalemate at finish of regulation.

Brazil entered the event because the odds-on group to take their title tally to 6. Croatia, who misplaced to France within the 2018 last, weren’t eyed to copy that historic run. However below the steering of midfield maestro Luka Modric, the Croatians stymied the Brazilians, who for the primary time in Qatar misplaced the possession battle. At this level, are you more likely to guess towards them from reaching one other last?

The scenes could not be extra totally different. Jubliation from the Croatian gamers as ran previous the crumpled and exhausted Brazilians. Neymar was decreased to tears after equalizing the report of one in every of nation’s sporting heroes, however left with out even taking his probability within the shootout. And it appeared like an finish of period if Neymar decides to not play for Brazil once more.

If you’re a fan of the Seleção, this script did not have a cheerful ending.



Ale Moreno wasn’t impressed by Neymar’s show towards Croatia, regardless of his nice aim.

Argentina avoids collapse, fend off Dutch on penalties in fiesty win

Simply once we thought the day’s antics have been completed, we got one other dose of the dramatics in Argentina‘s wild 4-3 win over the Netherlands on penalties after a rollercoaster 2-2 end in regulation.

The primary half was a reasonably drab affair till Messi opened it up with a ridiculous reverse go. He drifted alongside the sting of the Netherlands field, and with one flick, took 4 Dutch defenders out of the play and located the onrushing Nahuel Molina, who had area to side-foot it previous Andries Noppert.

When Messi added a second from the penalty spot, it regarded like Argentina have been residence free. However then got here the quarter-hour of Dutch brilliance to shut out the 90 minutes. Weghorst’s header was planted brilliantly previous Martinez with seven minutes of regular time remaining, after which within the tenth minute of harm time, they conjured among the best set items to grace any World Cup for Weghorst’s second.



Luis Miguel Echegaray reacts to Argentina’s dramatic victory over the Netherlands on penalties.

At this stage, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz had already misplaced management of the match, who handed out 17 yellow playing cards (however no reds?) and needed to pause the sport twice because the benches emptied on the pitch in ensuing scuffles.

In truth, the penalty shootout nearly felt a bit anti-climatic as Argentina emerged from the insanity with a victory and a spot within the semifinals.



Craig Burley cannot imagine the Netherlands pulled off such an audacious free kick within the quarter last of a World Cup.

Quarterfinals roll on! France-England, Portugal-Morocco up subsequent

Since successful the World Cup for France 4 years in the past, Kylian Mbappe‘s life has been a whirlwind. In Russia, he was a 19-year-old prodigy and was nonetheless rising as one in every of recreation’s largest stars. Now on the venerable age of 23, he could make the case of being one of the best participant on the planet.

In Qatar, Mbappe has scored 5 objectives and is within the high spot to win the Golden Boot for many scored on the event. He is main a facet that has been been taking part in with confidence and scored a number of objectives in every of their 4 wins up to now. Les Bleus have additionally been buoyed by Antoine Griezmann, usually a winger however who has thrived and stepped up as a de facto midfielder as a result of pre-Qatar accidents of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Corentin Tolisso.

But when this France group is to repeat as champion, it’s going to must get previous a robust England facet in Saturday’s quarterfinal conflict. In an analogous trajectory of Mbappe 4 years in the past, 19-year-old England midfielder Jude Bellingham has emerged as one the event’s breakout stars. He scored England’s opening aim of the event in a 6-2 win towards Iran, and arrange England’s first aim within the 3-0 win towards Wales.

Bellingham is threatening to unravel a place England has struggled with for years. Central midfield has been England’s weaknesses in current tournaments, and Bellingham is quickly changing into the whole midfielder that coach Gareth Southgate has wanted lately.



Steve Nicol and Alejandro Moreno focus on how England will look to take care of Kylian Mbappe once they face France.

As for the Saturday’s early match between Portugal and Morocco, it stays to be seen what function (if any) Cristiano Ronaldo will play. In Portugal’s spherical of 16 win over Switzerland, Ronaldo was benched in favor of Goncalo Ramos in what was seen as an enormous gamble by coach Fernando Santos.

It paid off as Ramos scored a hat trick, thus seemingly cementing Ronaldo’s function from the bench for the remainder of the event. Santos claimed the choice was primarily based on “technique,” moderately than Ronaldo’s offended response to being substituted in Portugal’s last group recreation towards South Korea.

No matter Ronaldo does, it will not take away from what Morocco has achieved in Qatar. A win towards Portugal would make the Atlas Lions the primary African squad to achieve the semifinals, after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) all misplaced within the quarterfinals.

If the dream story continues, it is going to be as a result of Morocco coach Walid Regragui has put in an efficient defend-and-counter type. They’ve solely conceded as soon as up to now in Qatar (an own-goal at that), and Yassine Bounou was magnificent in aim within the penalty shoot-out win over Spain.



Steve Nicol and Stewart Robson are doubtful that Cristiano Ronaldo’s feedback about Portugal successful the World Cup are actually real.

Your finest bets (odds through Caesars Sportsbook)

Should you’re trying to guess on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are right here to provide you key suggestions on odds, choices and futures. Here is what we have now for the Saturday’s matches.

Morocco (+450) vs. Portugal (-155), Draw (270)

Dalen Cuff: Morocco has been inspirational on this event. That 120-minute efficiency towards Spain, significantly on protection, was simply excellent. Nevertheless, guys have been cramping, injured, and struggling by the top. Distinction that with a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal wanting their finest and most dominant within the event, basically holding a coaching session within the second half. I believe Portugal manages the sport, minimizes Morocco’s alternatives on the counter, and maintain the Atlas Lions scoreless. Portugal to have a clear sheet at +102

Paul Carr: This has all of the making of a Portugal rout, for all the explanations Dalen defined. And but, I am drawn to Morocco for his or her sturdy defensive effort and group. I’ve performed Morocco to advance at +290 as a result of I simply suppose they’ve a one-in-four probability to get via. If that value is gone, the draw (+260) could also be a greater play, since Portugal have extra attacking depth for additional time.

Dan Thomas: That is a straightforward win for Portugal right here, 3-0.

England (+210) vs. France (+129), Draw (+230)

Cuff: This might be one of the best quarterfinal because it options essentially the most evenly matched and quality-laden groups. That mentioned, I believe France has been extra spectacular over the steadiness of the event and this recreation might come right down to a person second of brilliance supplied by the electrical Kylian Mbappe. I believe there can be objectives. Over 2.5 (+105) is attention-grabbing, however I am additionally going to guess France to win in 90 (+150).

Carr: I’ve little or no really feel for this recreation, and no cheap end result would shock me. The one factor I do like is a first-half draw at +100. Each groups will seemingly be cautious early, since each are inclined to take defensive approaches — regardless of their firepower. If one group finds a aim early, the opposite will seemingly management the ball and have possibilities the remainder of the half.

Thomas: England’s protection has but to be correctly examined and I believe it may be a catastrophe for supervisor Gareth Southgate’s facet. France have a lot high quality going ahead and we’re not armed to cease them. Take a France win in 90 minutes and plenty of objectives.

At present’s high reads

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Information and notes

  • England supervisor Gareth Southgate has insisted Ben White left the group’s camp for private causes and performed down strategies of a bust-up between the Arsenal defender and his assistant coach Steve Holland. A report emerged on Friday suggesting White had been concerned in a disagreement with Holland at a group assembly over a failure to recall knowledge regarding his private statistics. The Three Lions tackle France on Saturday, with Les Bleus keeper Hugo Lloris saying he thinks it is going to be an epic recreation.

  • Brazil coach Tite hit again at strategies an absence of group within the last minutes of additional time contributed to their World Cup exit. In the meantime, Neymar mentioned he was not sure if he would play once more for the nationwide group after their heartbreaking loss. “Actually, I have no idea. I believe speaking now’s dangerous due to the warmth of the second. Possibly I am not pondering straight,” he mentioned.

  • Lionel Messi mentioned he felt “disrespected” by Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and blasted the referee after Argentina beat the Dutch 4-3 on penalties in an exciting World Cup quarterfinal at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar on Friday. He was additionally fiercely crucial of the efficiency from Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

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