World Cup round of 16 recap

December 07, 2022
The final four Round of 16 games were full of fireworks on and off the pitch, as favorites fell flat and former superstars sat on the bench.
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SOURCE: ODD ANDERSEN/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: ODD ANDERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The final four Round of 16 games were full of fireworks on and off the pitch, as favorites fell flat and former superstars sat on the bench. Karma, is that you?

The results: The 2018 runners-up and world No. 12 Croatia are through to the quarter-finals after besting No. 24 Japan in the tournament’s first penalty shootout on Monday. Then No. 1 Brazil had everyone dancing in their dominant 4–1 win over No. 28 South Korea.

  • But things got really interesting yesterday. No. 22 Morocco stunned No. 7 Spain, knocking out the perennial favorites in penalty kicks to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time. Take a bow, goalie Yassine Bounou.
  • In the late game, No. 9 Portugal rolled to a 6–1 win over No. 15 Switzerland, a victory that included a hat trick from forward Gonçalo Ramos, aka Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement.

The drama: That’s right. After reportedly having a falling out with coach Fernando Santos following their group play loss to South Korea, the legendary Ronaldo wasn’t listed as a starter for the first time since 2006.

  • Adding insult to…insult? It was arguably Portugal’s best game of the World Cup. Ronaldo did take the field as a sub in the 73rd minute, but failed to score. Womp womp.

What’s next: Two days of rest before the quarter-finals begin on Friday. More to come then — can’t wait.

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