World Cup quarter-finals recap

December 12, 2022
Upsets, penalty kicks (PKs) and a historic win — the men’s World Cup quarter-finals more than lived up to the hype.
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SOURCE: AYMAN AREF/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: AYMAN AREF/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Upsets, penalty kicks (PKs) and a historic win — the men’s World Cup quarter-finals more than lived up to the hype. And now with just three games to go in the entire tourney, the stakes are only getting higher.

Quarter-finals recap: Friday was an adrenaline junkie’s dream, as both matches came down to PKs. First, No. 12 Croatia bounced trophy favorites No. 1 Brazil after both squads scored late extra-time goals. Then in the late match, No. 8 Netherlands scored an incredible 101st minute equalizer to force PKs, but Lionel Messi’s No. 3 Argentina squad would not be denied.

  • Saturday brought the biggest upset of the quarters when No. 22 Morocco’s defense held strong against No. 9 Portugal for a 1–0 win, sending second half substitute Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. packing.
  • Along with eliminating the tourney’s biggest villain, Morocco's victory made them the first-ever African team to reach a World Cup semi. That’s sure to make mom proud.
  • And finally, No. 4 France is still in contention to repeat as champs after taking down No. 5 England 2–1. It’s not coming home (for the men), but captain Harry Kane — who squandered a chance to force extra time — and his squad sure are.

Argentina vs. Croatia — Tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET: The semis begin with tomorrow’s battle of the 2018 runners-up Croatia, who’ve come up clutch with two straight PK wins, and Argentina, who seem to be a team of destiny in Messi’s last dance.

  • Argentina enter as heavy favorites, but that’s familiar territory for the Checkered Ones, especially after hunkering down and controlling possession against powerhouse Brazil to make it here.
  • Will that strategy work as they look to clinch their second consecutive finals appearance, or will the GOAT earn one last chance to win the trophy that’s eluded him his entire career? Only one way to find out.
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