World Cup Quarter-Final Wrap-up

And then there were four.  

We’re now in the semi-final stage of the World Cup, with just two games standing between Argentina, Croatia, Morocco and France and the biggest prize in football. 

But before the last-four commences, lets take a look back at what has been a highly-dramatic quarterfinal round. 

Croatia 1-1 Brazil (Croatia win 4-2 on penalties) 

world cup quarter-final wrap-up

The first upset of the round.  

Brazil were one of the heavy favourites to lift the trophy but came unstuck against a dogged and determined Croatian side. 

After a goalless 90 minutes, things took a positive turn for the Selecao when Neymar gave them the lead in extra-time. 

But Bruno Petkovic struck for the 2018 finalists three minutes before the final whistle to take the game to spot-kicks. 

In the shootout the Croats converted all four of their penalties, while Brazil’s Rodrygo had his attempt saved before Marquinhos saw his all-important effort bounce off the post.  

In the end…the five-time champions were denied the chance to add a sixth trophy…manager Tite stepped down…while Neymar hinted at international retirement.  

Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (Argentina win 4-3 on penalties) 

world cup quarter-final wrap-up

This match had it all. Star players…plenty of goals…a penalty shootout…and a player bust-up to boot. 

The Argentines appeared to have the win sealed after Lionel Messi converted a 73rd minute penalty to add on to Nahuel Molina’s opener. 

But instead of giving up, the Dutch went for broke and drew level via two late goals from Wout Weghorst. 

There was nothing to separate the teams in extra-time, and off to penalties they went. 

Keeper Emiliano Martinez was the shootout hero for Argentina, saving from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis. 

It then fell to Lautaro Martinez to net the decisive spot-kick and send the South American side into the semis. 

This ill-tempered match also saw 17 yellow cards plus a red for Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries, with altercations also reported after the game and in the players’ tunnel. 

Morocco 1 - 0 Portugal 

world cup quarter-final wrap-up

The second upset of the round…but arguably the biggest. 

Morocco are the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals with a determined display against the former European champions.  

Youssef En-Nesyri gave the Atlas Lions a first-half lead with a towering header, with the injury-hit team then sitting deep for the majority of the second half. 

Cristiano Ronaldo - once again left out of the starting eleven - came off the bench with 40 minutes to go, but even one of Portugal’s greatest ever players could not save them from elimination. 

At 37, this is very likely Ronaldo’s last World Cup…while Morocco will be hoping that their highly impressive achievement is the start of many more great things to come. 

England 1 - 2 France 

world cup quarter-final wrap-up

This was arguably the biggest game of the round…and boy, did it deliver. 

The Three Lions put on one of their best displays in recent years in response to yet another solid attacking performance by the defending champions. 

Aurelien Tchouameni gave the French a 17th minute lead with a long-range strike. 

England – who were the dominant side for large spells of the game – drew level via a Harry Kane penalty nine minutes after the break. 

France hit back with an Olivier Giroud header 12-minutes from time. 

Kane then got another opportunity to draw level from the penalty spot, but the captain sent his second attempt over the bar. 

It marked another heart-breaking end to an England World Cup campaign...and continues their long-running nightmare with penalties. 

Argentina will now take on Croatia in the semi-finals…while France are up against giant-killers Morocco. 

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