World Cup 2022: Predicting every quarterfinal matchup

The World Cup quarterfinals will feature eight of the tournament’s best teams. Here’s how the teams stack up ands who’s expected to win.  

The World Cup enters the quarterfinal stage as eight of the tournament’s best teams do battle for a spot in the final four.

The eight teams are highlighted by five from Europe (France, England, Portugal, Croatia and the Netherlands, two South American heavyweights (Brazil and Argentina) and one Cinderella side from Africa (Morocco).

The quarterfinals also features some of the game’s biggest names: Lionel Messi of Argentina, Kylian Mbappe of France and Neymar of Brazil. The trio are all teammates at French club PSG and could very well meet in the semifinals or finals should their national teams advance at this competition.

The bracket also features some tasty matchups, including Argentina taking on the Netherlands and England playing France, the defending World Cup champions. France are looking to be the first team to win back-to-back World Cup since Brazil did so on 1962.

Here’s a preview of the four quarterfinal matchups and who’s expected to win.

World Cup 2022 picks: Predictions for every quarterfinal match

Croatia vs. Brazil

Will the Brazilians keep dancing their way to the final. It certainly looks that way after the Selecao dispatched South Korea 4-1 in the round of 16. The return of Neymar has certainly re-ignited the Brazilian attack, which also features highlight-reel star in Vinicius Jr. and Richarlison.

Trying to oust the Brazilians will be a hardworking Croatia team that in 2018 found a way to reach the final. Midfield general Luka Modric continues to be a creative force for Craotia, while goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the hero in the penalty-kick shootout against Japan in the round of 16. He will look to do the same should this match go to another shootout.

Prediction: Brazil 3, Croatia 1 

Netherlands vs. Argentina

Lionel Messi’s quest to equal Diego Maradona and get his country a World Cup continues in Qatar. The Albiceleste started the tournament with a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia, but have gotten better with every match. The team’s 2-1 victory against Australia in the round of 16 may have seemed tight, but Messi put on a masterclass in that match.

The Dutch, who eliminated the United States in the round of 16, have also come into their own over the past two weeks. The striker combo of Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo, dangerous on the break, have looked impressive. Whether the Oranje can get past Argentina’s defense remains to be seen.

Prediction: Argentina 2, Netherlands 1

Morocco vs. Portugal

Upsets were the order of the day in the group stage. Everyone loves an underdog. All that seemed to evaporate in the knockout round. Morocco was the only exception. The Atlas Lions, the only team from Africa still in contention, dumped Spain out of the tournament in a shootout. Neutrals will be cheering for Morocco, but whether the Cinderella side can still keep the fairytale going remains to be seen.

Portugal routed Switzerland 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals and they did it was flair and speed. They also did it with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. Portugal’s philosophy is based on a team work ethic. And having Ronaldo off the bench in the second half doesn’t hurt either.

Prediction: Portugal 3, Morocco 1 

England vs. France

France are still on course for a repeat. Despite entering the tournament with several key injuries, Les Bleus have looked unstoppable. The French striker is currently the tournament’s top scorer with five goals and two assists in just four games. He is arguably the best player in the world at the moment.

England, who finished fourth at the World Cup four years ago, have to exploit France’s weak defense. Will football come home? This is the toughest game the Three Lions will face so far at this World Cup. Win here and they could very well win it all for the first time since 1966.

Prediction: France 2, England 0 

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