A World Cup Quarter Finals To Remember
Our feature writer, Natasha Turkington, weighs in on the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals. You can follow her on Twitter @natashaturk.
World Cup Quarter Finals… Brazil, Portugal and England OUT!
There are sore heads and broken hearts all around the world after a weekend of shock World Cup upsets, with 3 soccer giants crashing out of the tournament as a result of dramatic penalty shoot outs and controversial referee decisions.
Croatia vs Brazil
It has been 20 years since Brazil won a World Cup, but now they need to wait another 4 years to try again. With a squad packed with superstars, Brazil were strong favourites to go all the way to the final. Unfortunately for them, the little country of Croatia with a population of only 4 million people had different ideas and showed the grit and determination to come out on top after the game was forced in to a penalty shoot-out.
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Morocco vs Portugal
Next to be packing their suitcases were former European Champions, Portugal, which saw Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the field of play in floods of tears. Even given the recent distasteful Manchester United exit, it is difficult not to feel sympathy for Ronaldo. He is a born winner with a glittering career of achievements only the most elite will experience, but now the dream of lifting the World Cup trophy for his country is officially the impossible dream.
England vs France
The biggest UK television audience of the year watched England’s 2-1 defeat against France on Saturday night. A peak audience of 23 million tuned in to watch Gareth Southgate’s men exit the tournament in agonising fashion. While we all tuned in expecting to see tournament sensation Kylian Mbappé cause major problems for England, it turned out France’s best player was match referee Wilton Sampaio (can you tell I am still hurting?). The controversial Brazilian referee was heavily criticised for his performance after not giving England clear foul decisions and worse, a possible penalty/free kick on the edge of the area was not granted.
England were undoubtedly the better the side in the second half. The referee had no choice but to award a blatant penalty, so Harry Kane stepped up for the second time of the match to take a spot kick which would see things level up to 2-2. Whether it was purely a mistake or overwhelming pressure in the dying seconds of the game (or both), progression to the semi-final was not meant to be for England. Kane’s effort went high and wide, the full-time whistle was blown… and that was that.
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World Cup Semi-Finals
With the quarter-finals done and dusted, Qatar 2022 is whittled down to just four teams: Argentina, Croatia. France, Morocco.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the remarkable journey Morocco has had, writing themselves in to soccer folklore by becoming the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals. Everybody loves an underdog story, and I predict Morocco will see fans of other nations across the world cheering them on to reach the final.
Speaking of the final, let’s take a look at the odds on the final four to lift the World Cup.
Messi hasn’t exactly set this World Cup on fire however we all know the little guy is a magician, and many believe he is the soccer G.O.A.T but can he walk in the footsteps of the great Maradona and bring the trophy home to Argentina? Or will it be the brilliant young buck, 23-year-old Mbappé of France?
- France: +110
- Argentina: +160
- Croatia: +750
- Morocco: +900
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