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Brazil, Croatia Clash at World Cup Quarterfinals


Supporters of Brazil listen to the national anthem ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarterfinal football match between Croatia and Brazil at Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on December 9, 2022.

Brazil’s Samba Boys will be continuing their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign Friday as they go head-to-head against Croatia in today's quarterfinals clash.

Football experts say though Croatia was the 2018 World Cup runners-up, Brazil is playing mouthwatering football at the 2022 tournament and are favorites to take the trophy back to South America.

Analysts say the fixture featuring the five-time World Cup winners will be tough for the European side.

While addressing a press conference Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s coach told media that their quarterfinals clash with the Samba boys will be a “difficult fight.”

Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic speaks during a press conference ahead of their quarterfinals clash against Brazil
Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic speaks during a press conference ahead of their quarterfinals clash against Brazil

“How can we stop them you ask; it is simple, our goal is to try and stop the whole team,” said Dalic, adding, “but it will be a very difficult fight.”

Dejan Lovren, Croatia’s 33-year-old defender said Brazil have a lot of star players in their squad that they will need to keep tabs on.

“Any of their substitutes can come on and make an instant impact,” said Lovren.

Analysts echo Lovren’s sentiments and add, coach Adenor Bacchi, popularly known as Tite has used the depth of his squad to his advantage.

Preliminary lineups show that talisman Neymar and key defender Danilo are in the starting 11 for the Samba boys and will be expected to play a crucial role for the South Americans in their bid to make it to the semi-finals.

Neymar, who feared a possible early exit of the FIFA World Cup after he hobbled off the field with a swollen ankle in the 80th minute of their encounter against Serbia, made a return in their Round of 16 clash against South Korea and contributed a goal to their 4-1 victory.

Brazil's Neymar warms up ahead of their quarterfinals clash against Croatia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Brazil's Neymar warms up ahead of their quarterfinals clash against Croatia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

“The night I got injured was very hard for me because I had a thousand things in my head, but I also had the support of my teammates and family,” said Neymar.

When asked about how he got over the injury and if he will be ready for their quarterfinals clash, the 30-year-old Brazilian forward said, “I had to find strength where there wasn't any," and further thanked fans for their support as he re-assured them that he will be ready to represent the Samba boys.

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