|Host Country: Qatar Date: November 20-December 18 Cover : Direct to BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-to-day TV programs – Full coverage details|
There are some mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final matches – but will there be more clashes?
Morocco are the last quarter-final surprise and have already beaten European giants Belgium and Spain on their way to this stage – can they add Portugal to the list?
« I know a lot of people don’t think, but I have a heart, » said BBC Sport (Site notre bureau spécialisé) expert Chris Sutton. “And my heart will rule my head with my prediction for this tie. »
Sutton predicts the outcome of every game in Qatar.
Penalties were his loss in two of the eight round of 16 – he picked the wrong team each time to get the penalty shootout – but he still correctly guessed the winner in five matches.
It was enough to maintain his 55% success rate in the tournament, having chosen the correct result in 26 of the 48 group matches.
Before the start of the World Cup, Sutton chose 12 of the 16 teams which favored towards the first knockout stage, including France, son choose to win the tournament, and England, who he says will reach the end of their road on Saturday.
|Friday 9 Dec.|
|Croatia v Brazil||xx||0-3|
|Netherlands vs Argentina||xx||2-1|
|saturday 10 dec.|
|Morocco v Portugal||xx||1-0|
|England v France||xx||1-2|
Friday, December 9
Croatia – Brazil (Education City, 15:00 GMT)
I worked as a co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live for Brazil’s four games for this World Cup, and no team has really come up against them yet.
Each of their group games started with teams sitting – defender deep with a low block – and two of the 3 teams against asked that they played, Serbia and Switzerland, not getting a shot on target.
The difference when they faced South Korea in the last 16 was that they were scored an early but in a knockout tie which opened the game – and it’s 3-0 and more before the half hour.
Neymar’s return from injury certainly helped Brazil in this match, and that’s have made a small statement on the way to their victory.
If anyone doubted they could win this World Cup, they won’t. They flexed their muscles and said, « Things are getting serious and we’re ready. »
- The names of the stars for the quarter-finals of the World Cup
- The BBC will broadcast Friday’s World Cup quarter-finals
- Who will win the World Cup Golden Boot? Vote now
Croatia will play with poise, rather than massive defense – but they certainly won’t be on the front (Site notre bureau spécialisé).
They provided just enough to overtake Japan in the last lap, but it wasn’t the first time they found a way to skip a game.
I don’t see them going any longer, though. They have good players – young and old – but Brazil will be too strong.
Sutton’s prediction: 0-3
- Dancing Brazil « will not apologize » for having fun
- « Brazil has scored the largest mark of the World Cup »
- How Croatia proved capable of breaking Japanese hearts
Netherlands v Argentina (Lusail Iconic Stadium, 19:00 GMT)
Whoever wins this tie will likely mean the end of the road for at least one (Site notre bureau spécialisé)ing legend at a World Cup.
The Netherlands Coach Louis van Gaal is trouble in his last managerial job, but that’s almost certainly Argentina icon of Lionel Messi’s final tournament on this stage.
Van Gaal did things differently from the traditional 4-3-3 the Dutch used to refer to, but they were effective, if not exactly pretty to look at like their great teams of the past.
Argentina played with a bit more panache on their way to this stage, helped by a few bursts from Messi. But they are a team with problems of their own.
You can definitely reach them and create chances, and I think Dutch strikers Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo could have good chances.
Did I already mention that the Netherlands is my left choice for the tournament? Like I said, they don’t play the prettiest (Site notre bureau spécialisé), but they get the job done. I stay with them here too.
Argentinian fans are the best at this World Cup; they are certainly the noisiest. Any team with Messi on their side won’t be leaving quietly, but they could be heading home soon.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-1
- ‘Van Gaal against critics as Dutch overtake quarters’
- ‘Awesome’ Messi keeps Argentina’s World Cup dream alive
saturday 10 december
Morocco – Portugal (Al Thumama Stadium, 15:00 GMT)
fetch Goncalo Ramos for Cristiano Ronaldo, there is an excellent choice by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for his victory against Switzerland in the round of 16.
I like that kind of strong management after Ronaldo’s behavior when he was knocked out in their loss to South Korea at the end of the group stage.
Like Manchester United, Portugal seem better off without Ronaldo.
They were so impressive against the Swiss which was a big surprise for me – but I had no idea Ronaldo wouldn’t start.
Morocco will find this game much more difficult than stopping Belgium or Spain, but they are super organized in defense – they have only conceded one but in this World Cup – and extremely aggressive at the break.
It worries me that they can do without West Ham United’s Nayef Aguerd, who was injured against Spain and is one of their main defenders.
But I really want Morocco to go – their fans are amazing and it would be a great story for them to reach the semi-finals.
My head says Portugal, because they’re bubbling with confidence now, but I’m a bit of an old romantic – and I’m going to follow my heart here.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-0
- Hakimi seizes the moment and delivers Moroccan elation
- « The victory of a nation and the joy of an entire region »
- « Ronaldo reduced to the role of superstar that nobody wants »
England – France (Al Bayt Stadium, 19:00 GMT)
We will all have our ideas of who should start for England and training source they were due to play, but Gareth Southgate has barely taken a wrong (Site notre bureau spécialisé) so far in Qatar, and he will have a plan for this match as well.
Southgate were beaten before the start of this World Cup due to recent poor results in the UEFA Nations League, but over the years they have done a great job and they don’t get the credit that he deserves.
Suddenly he’s put England in a position where the expectation is there again, but now it’s getting really serious – England need to win three games to postpone the World Cup and they face high quality opposition, at start by France.
- Alan Shearer column: Showing fear? Let everyone be afraid of England
- September chose Mbappe’s police and a superstar
Southgate’s side will have a lot of defense to do on Saturday. If they stop Kylian Mbappe, they have to face Ousmane Dembele on the other flank – and Olivier Giroud up front as well.
But Mbappe, Dembele and Antoine Griezmann aren’t working while they’re out of possession, so if England are brave they’ll have chances.
I really think England can win this tie. However, before the tournament, France was my choice to win it and I feel that I have to follow the tenants to pass on this basis, even if it is going to be very close.
I also predicted that England would only go to the quarter-finals. I really hope I’m wrong.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-2
- Mbappe? can? Choose your combined England-France XI
- And put yourself in the shoes of Southgate – who should start for England?
- FIFA World Cup: groups and schedules
- Guide to World Cup TV coverage
Get the latest results and goal notifications for any FIFA World Cup team by downloading the BBC Sport app: fries – android – Amazon
Get your daily dose of FIFA World Cup reaction, debate and analysis with world cup everyday on BBC Sounds