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FIFA World Cup 2022 Day 20 Live Updates: Brazil vs Croatia and Argentina vs Netherlands in the blockbuster quarter-finals

FIFA World Cup 2022 Day 20 Live Updates, December 9: Day one of quarterfinal football at Qatar 2022.

Ships sail with sails in the colors of the quarterfinal teams France and England during the Soccer World Cup from the Katara Beach in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

World Cup 2022 Day 20 Live Updates: From 32, we down to 8 teams in the FIFA World cup as the tournament enters its business end i.e. the quarterfinals. In the first day of the QFs, Brazil will take on Croatia while Argentina will lock horns with Netherlands.

In the Brazil vs Croatia encounter, Brazil’s young and pacy midfield and forward line will go up against Croatia’s ageing midfield which comes into this match on the back of a tiring Round-of-16 encounter that went to penalties. While Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic control all play, they are also prone to leave vast spaces in the middle, which Brazil could easily exploit.

In the Argentina vs Netherlands clash, as they did against Poland, Mexico as well as Australia, Argentina will aim to control proceedings while the Netherlands – just as they did against the USA – will be happy to sit back and look for opportunities to attack them on the counter. This means the Dutch will once again play a 5-3-2 system while defending, which will leave no space for Argentina in the middle of the pitch, forcing them into wider areas.

Live Blog

FIFA World Cup 2022 Day 20, Live updates: Brazil face Croatia while Netherlands go up against Argentina in the 1st set of quarterfinal matches.

17:10 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: How much ball carrying distance has Lionel Messi covered in Qatar World Cup

While the world awaits the quarter-final results in the Qatar World Cup, the 56 matches in the World Cup have seen the players from the 32 teams battling out in the group stages and then 16 teams giving their best in the round of 16. Here are some of the interesting data as compiled by data firm OptaJoe.(read more)

16:09 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: 765K World Cup visitors fall short of Qatar’s expected 1.2M influx

Qatar received just over 765,000 visitors during the first two weeks of the World Cup, according to an organisers’ report obtained by Reuters, falling short of the country’s expectations for an influx of 1.2 million during the month-long event.

A huge surge in visitors at this stage is unlikely with only eight teams staying on in Doha, and eight games left out of the 64 in the tournament that began on Nov. 20.(read more)

15:21 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: England chalk up plan to keep Mbappe in check, could use Jose Mourinho blue print

England have plans in place for France and their star striker Kylian Mbappe, says Gareth Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland before the highly anticipated World Cup quarter-final clash.

Mbappe, who is elevating his performance to a whole new level at the World Cup, delivered another stellar performance when he scored twice and set up another goal for the defending champions in a 3-1 win over Poland on Sunday. The two goals came with powerful shots in the second half as Poland’s defenders struggled to keep up with Mbappe’s pace and physicality.(read more)

15:03 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Raheem Sterling reportedly ready to rejoin England squad before England vs France

Raheem Sterling is reportedly hoping to fly back to Qatar on Thursday and rejoin England’s World Cup camp before the all-important quarter-final against France on Saturday.

According to a report in the Sun, Sterling, who had left the team’s World Cup camp in Qatar and returned to Britain after a break-in at his home, has been finalising his security arrangements and will fly off after accessing the security set up at his Surrey home.(read more)

14:24 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Denzel Dumfries: the Netherlands defender, with roots in amateur football, who will have Argentina’s back line wary

Breakthrough performances of teenagers have been a highlight of this World Cup. From Spain’s Gavi, and Germany’s Jamal Musiala, to England’s Jude Bellingham.

For Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries – arguably Netherlands’ best player this tournament – playing for the Oranje was nothing more than a pipe dream as a teenager. Born to an Aruban father and Surinamese mother, his family moved to Rotterdam from Aruba prior to his birth in the Dutch city, where he was named after Hollywood actor Denzel Washington.(read more)

13:43 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Netherlands vs Argentina - Head to Head

13:32 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: 'In Brazil, Ronaldo Nazario is seen as just a fat man'

As an analyst on beIN Sports for the World Cup, former Brazil international and Ballon d’Or winner Kaka gave his insight on how Brazilian footballers can be more revered in Europe than they are in their home country. To illustrate his point, he used the example of Ronaldo Nazario.

The former Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder said that being in Europe and in Qatar at the moment, he saw a lot more respect for Ronaldo than he sees from his compatriots, even though he is considered an icon of the global game, and Brazilian sports in general.

“It’s strange to say this, but many Brazilians don’t support Brazil,” he said. “It happens sometimes. If you see Ronaldo walking around here, you’ll be like: ‘Wow’, he has something different here. In Brazil, he’s just a fat man walking down the street.” The statement was met by a round of laughter by the panellists, which included Gary Neville and John Terry. Kaka further went on to clarify what he meant. (READ MORE)

12:01 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Always thought that whoever doesn’t love Messi doesn’t love football'

Former Argentine football player Jorge Valdano said that Messi is Maradona every day and even Maradona wasn’t Maradona every day. "And in different positions. He abandoned one role and adapted to a new one on the very day he occupied it. I’m a winger and Guardiola says play false 9: we win 6-2 and I inspire it. Now we see him as a strategist, a midfielder. As if being a genius wasn’t enough, time made him wise. Against Australia, it was like the essence of his 1,000 games, the aroma of everything he’s been. Even as a madridista, I’ve always thought that whoever doesn’t love Messi doesn’t love football. I won’t allow anyone to say he is less than anyone ever."
 

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11:53 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Gvardiol ready for his biggest test

One would not miss Josko Gvardiol on a football pitch. The spidery mask wrapped over his face is a distinct giveaway. He began wearing it after suffering a broken nose in a collission with teammate Willi Orban last month. His intimidating frame — six feet one inch – with a strapping frame also makes him catch the eye, as does the smoothness of his game. Gvardiol is rarely bullied or battered, barely out-sped or outwitted; he hardly hurls his studs in desperation, because he always has time; he never lunges, for he is often in front of the striker, not behind them.

His national coach Zlatko Dalic calls him the best defender in the world. “He is not the number one now, but soon he will be. If Luka (Modric) is the face of Croatian football now, the future belongs to Gvardiol. It’s hard to believe he is just 20,” he gushes, unable to hide his admiration for his defensive linchpin.

On Friday, though, Gvardiol faces the biggest test of his career yet. To contain the incandescent Brazilian forward-line. But Dalic looks at the perceived dilemma as an opportunity: “It’s a chance for them to show how good they are. None of the guys are nervous, though I have to admit that they (Brazil) are a frightening proposition.” (READ MORE)

11:37 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: How many migrant workers have died in Qatar?

Qatar, where foreigners make up the majority of the 2.9 million population, has faced intense criticism from human rights groups over its treatment of migrant workers.

A 48-page report by Amnesty, Reality Check 2021, said that practices such as withholding salaries and charging workers to change jobs were still rife, despite labour reforms in 2014.

11:28 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Ready for his biggest test, Croatian defender Gvardiol looks destined to go places

 

One would not miss Josko Gvardiol on a football pitch. The spidery mask wrapped over his face is a distinct giveaway. He began wearing it after suffering a broken nose in a collission with teammate Willi Orban last month. His intimidating frame — six feet one inch – with a strapping frame also makes him catch the eye, as does the smoothness of his game.

Gvardiol is rarely bullied or battered, barely out-sped or outwitted; he hardly hurls his studs in desperation, because he always has time; he never lunges, for he is often in front of the striker, not behind them.(read more)

11:18 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Dutch have Gaal to stop Messi in quarter-final

In his last dance as a coach, Louis Van Gaal is more like a cuddly grandfather putting on his best show to entertain the audience. Far gone is the sombre, detached ideologue of Nou Camp past, or the peevish, grumpy custodian of Old Trafford days. He cracks jokes, hugs players, plants kisses – “big, fat kiss” – in press conferences, and laces humour with pithy observations and analysis, defusing questions with undertones of insult.

Like when a journalist sought his opinion about the Argentina winger Angel Di Maria calling him the “worst manager he has played under.” He broke into peals of laughter, gathered his poise and said: “He had a tough time there, burglars broke into his house, he found it difficult to settle in the city, but that’s rare, a player telling me that I am a bad coach. Usually, it’s the other way around, they all say I am a great coach,” he said, chuckling and seeking the opinion of Memphis Depay, sitting across from him. “Memphis, am I not the best coach you ever had?” Depay giggled and said: “Yes, yes, the best.” The room crackled with laughter.

At that precise point, Van Gaal intervened: “Am I not entertaining you? Then you say I am a boring coach.” Then he sought ratification: “Didn’t you see the goal we scored against USA (the first goal from a 20-pass sequence)? When Brazil scored a goal like that I read in the media of my friends that that was sparkling football. While we did that too. Actually, we play the same football.” (READ MORE)

11:16 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Messi eyes another record

Lionel Messi has scored nine goals in 23 matches at the World Cup, spanning five editions (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022) and is one behind Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s top scorer in the tournament

11:16 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Netherlands vs Argentina History

The Netherlands have lost only one of the previous nine games against Argentina – the 1978 World Cup final in Buenos Aires – though they have been beaten in a shootout on two occasions. The two countries played out a goalless draw in their last meeting in Sao Paulo in the 2014 semi-final after which Argentina won on penalties.

11:14 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of WC speaks after reported worker death

Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, confirmed to Reuters that a worker had died, but gave no further details. He offered his condolences to his family and said “death is a natural part of life”. The Philippines’ foreign ministry confirmed in a statement that one of its nationals had died while working at a resort south of the capital Doha. It said its embassy was “working with legal authorities to ascertain more details of his passing”.

10:34 (IST)09 Dec 2022
Netherlands vs Argentina: Where the battle will be won

Defining area: Flanks

As they did against Poland, Mexico as well as Australia, Argentina will aim to control proceedings while the Netherlands – just as they did against the USA – will be happy to sit back and look for opportunities to attack them on the counter.

This means the Dutch will once again play a 5-3-2 system while defending, which will leave no space for Argentina in the middle of the pitch, forcing them into wider areas. This will be critical for two key reasons: Crowding the central areas would mean Messi might be forced to play in a withdrawn role to help with the build-up. For Virgil van Dijk & Co., that will mean not dealing with Messi’s menacing presence in the attacking third constantly.

Secondly, they’ll force Argentina to do something that they aren’t comfortable with – attack from the flanks. While they do have quality wingers and use wider areas by overloading the flanks, it’s done with the intention to draw the opposition midfielders towards them to open up space in the centre, from where they launch attacks. (READ MORE)

10:21 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Will Argentina carry Messi over the line now?

For a team that came into the tournament on a 36-game unbeaten run, Argentina look unusually fragile. They opened their campaign with a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia, and have looked uneasy in each of their games since, despite winning all of them. Invariably, the main problem area seems to be their reliance on Lionel Messi. Tournament football teams are usually well-organised and structured, relying on individual talent to provide moments of brilliance. The problem for Argentina, however, is that with a Copa America triumph and a very solid build-up that led to them gaining favourite status, this is exactly what they had promised not to be. That unlike other versions of the Albiceleste, they are no longer the ‘Lionel Messi team’.

10:18 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Alex Sandro could miss quarter-final against Croatia

razil’s first-choice left back Alex Sandro has not fully recovered from injury and is doubtful for their quarter-final against Croatia on Friday, manager Tite said on Thursday. Alex Sandro was substituted in the 86th minute of Brazil’s second World Cup Group G match against Switzerland with a muscle problem in his left hip. He was ruled out for their final group stage match with Cameroon and the last-16 clash versus South Korea and, according to Tite, he could miss his third consecutive game on Friday even if he manages to train well on Thursday afternoon.

09:49 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: Brazil vs Croatia - Where the battle will be won

The quality of players in the middle of the park for this tie is incredible. Croatia have Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic – the trio central to everything they do on the field. Brazil, meanwhile, boast the likes of Neymar, Pacqueta and Casemiro. But here’s where the similarities end. While Brazil’s midfield – in fact, their attackers overall – are young and pacy, Croatia’s ageing midfield comes into this match on the back of a tiring Round-of-16 encounter that went to penalties. While Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic control all play, they are also prone to leave vast spaces in the middle, which Brazil could easily exploit. Brazil, because of their sheer quality, are also set to create more chances. So, it really comes down to whether the experienced Croatian midfield can keep a tight shape and smother the Brazilian machine so as to stop them from playing free-flowing football. On the other hand, if Brazil manage to isolate Croatia’s midfield, that’ll be battle half-won for them. (READ MORE)

09:47 (IST)09 Dec 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live: What history tells us

Brazil are unbeaten in their four meetings with Croatia (W3 D1). The teams have met twice in the World Cup, with Brazil winning 1-0 in 2006 and 3-1 as hosts in 2014. razil striker Neymar, who marked his return from injury by scoring in Monday’s 4-1 win over South Korea, netted twice when they beat Croatia 3-1 in the group stage in 2014.

FIFA World Cup: ‘Brothers’ Messi & Neymar two matches away from meeting again, this time as rivals on a football pitch

Like two giant trees inhabiting a rarefied footballing estate, the shadows of Lionel Messi and Neymar merge into each other, no matter how hard they try to keep them unto themselves. (AP)

Like two giant trees inhabiting a rarefied footballing estate, the shadows of Lionel Messi and Neymar merge into each other, no matter how hard they try to keep them unto themselves. When Neymar united with Messi in Barcelona, all nerves and doubts, the Argentine put him at ease, and together with Luis Suarez, formed one of the deadliest tridents this century.

When the shadow that Messi cast became too long, or when Neymar presumed so, he moved to PSG so that he could flourish and branch out alone. But four years later, they reunited at the Paris club, this time Neymar playing the role of the gracious host. “We are just meant to be. I haven’t spent as much time with my family, as I have with Leo,” the Brazilian had said then.

Perhaps, they are just meant to be. Messi is five years older than Neymar. He was already a great leaping to the pedestal of an all-time great when Neymar burst forth. The Brazilian was never a competitor, but the inheritor. It was how Barcelona wanted their destinies to unfold. Messi would leave in autumn for the spring of Neymar. But like fate and destiny, human ambition and quest for centre-stage, it did not pan out to Barcelona’s best-written script. However, their fates intertwined again in Paris, long shadows again cast over each other, and again struck an irresistible chemistry. (READ MORE)

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First published on: 09-12-2022 at 09:00 IST
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