DOHA: The quarterfinal showdowns of Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 begin with an explosive match between 2018 runners-up Croatia taking on record champions Brazil on Friday.
The match will have plenty to offer with Brazil finding their majestic touch against South Korea 4-1 and Croatia grinding out a penalty shoot-out win over hardworking Japan in the last-16 encounters.
Before the clash at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, the teams have met four times -- a draw preceding three Brazil victories.
The Selecao are also boosted by the return of their injured talisman Neymar in the match against South Korea.
The match will be a face-off between Neymar and Croatian midfield maestro Luka Modric.
If we look at the quarterfinals record of both the teams, Croatia have won their previous two Fifa World Cup quarterfinals, 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 dominated by four losses and a win. The win came in the most recent contest – a 3-0 win against Argentina in 2018.
On the other hand, Brazil have won eight and lost five of their previous Fifa World Cup quarterfinals, 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.
Four of Croatia’s last five Fifa World Cup knockout matches have gone into extra time.
This is Croatia’s first World Cup knockout match against South American opposition.
Croatia have been successful in seven of their previous nine World Cup knockout matches.
Croatia have not failed to score in their previous nine World Cup knockout matches.
This is Brazil’s 14th World Cup quarterfinal, the joint-most alongside Germany. Brazil have been successful in eight of their previous 13 quarterfinals.
Brazil have lost three of their last four World Cup quarterfinals while winning only one. All three defeats came against European opposition.
This is Brazil’s eighth successive appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals – the last time they didn’t feature at this stage was in 1990.