Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The promise of goals, farewells and surprises in a fourth World Cup

DOHA ( Associated Press) — A mock final between England and France, Dutchman Louis van Gaal’s penchant for revenge against Argentina, Brazil’s “dancers” against Croatian resistance and Cristiano Ronaldo’s surprise Morocco face an independent Portugal in the quarterfinals made alive. World Cup in Qatar.

With most of the Europeans in the draw, South America keep their fingers crossed for victories by the Argentines and Brazilians that will see the 2021 Copa America final repeat on the bigger stage and secure a representative in the title decider in Lusail on 18 December . Stadium.

England and France, the tournament’s two biggest attacking powers, will seek to continue the dominance that Europe has enjoyed for 20 years.

But beware Morocco, the only non-European or South American team among the best eight in Qatar and the first from the African continent to make the World Cup quarter-finals since Ghana in 2010.

If their teams lose in this instance, it will be World Cup farewells with Argentine star Lionel Messi, 35, Croatian Luka Modric and Cristiano – a sudden substitute in Portugal -, both 37.

Will Van Gaal be able to find the formula against Messi?

Louis van Gaal, at 71, the oldest World Cup coach and mentor to the Netherlands, who are 19 games unbeaten, will try what none of his teammates have been able to do in Qatar: handcuff Messi when they face Argentina on Friday. See you in Lusail.

The 35-year-old Argentina star has three goals at the World Cup – taking his total to nine on the big stage – and he is at an excellent level. It may seem absent for several periods, but that burst of inspiration from ten is enough to break down even the most methodical defense.

With a long history in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, it is to be expected that Van Gaal executes a defensive strategy that limits Messi’s movements, in a duel that seeks to avenge the defeat on penalties to the Oranje. is presented as an opportunity. In the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

“It’s good that there is a rematch. That’s what we want”, warned the Dutch coach. “Our goal is to become world champion.” The Netherlands is the only team in Europe’s elite that has never been able to lift the top trophy, having eluded it in 1974, 1978 – against Argentina – and 2010.

Dancers VS. Brave

To believe that Brazil’s stars dancing after every goal by South Korea is going to intimidate Croatia is to underestimate it.

The defending runners-up defeated Japan in a penalty shoot-out—goalkeeper Dominik Livkovic saved three—extending a very attractive streak: since 1998, except for the 2018 World Cup, all of their World Cup or Euro 2016 knockout rounds They lost to France in the final which went into extra time.

“Never underestimate Croatia. Croatia is a small nation, but we are brave, defiant and loyal,” coach Zlatko Dalić said ahead of Friday’s game against the five-time world champions at the Education City stadium. “We will always give everything we have, especially for this generation of players.”

Of course, Brazil got Neymar back and with him the “beautiful game” returned.

“Neymar is our leader, the team feels it and makes a difference. It motivates everyone to play better”, Tite admitted.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who injured his right ankle in the first round against Serbia and missed the subsequent first round game, scored a penalty in a 4–1 win over South Korea and became Brazil’s all-time top scorer. With 77 goals, he aimed to equal the legendary Pele in form.

The winner of this crossing will face the survivor of Argentina-Holland.

early end

Two European powers, top scorers at the World Cup, a sort of opening final.

England and defending champions France will play at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday. A fight, the third in history on the big stage, that will lift the victor’s morale for the rest.

The Three Lions have a total of 12 goals in four games, three more than Les Bleus. He has also kept three clean sheets against none for France.

But if Kylian Mbappé is in front then all the statistics become a scoff. The Frenchman is the only player in history to have scored a total of nine World Cup goals under the age of 24.

“It’s the competition of my dreams, my only goal is to win the World Cup. That’s my dream, my only dream. That’s why I’m here”, clarified 10 as if it was necessary.

In England, Harry Kane scored his first goal of the tournament against Senegal in the round of 16 and came one step away from equaling top scorer Wayne Rooney (53).

Surprise and Portugal DC (after Cristiano)

In the first World Cup held in the Middle East, Morocco is the first and only Arab country to finish in the top eight.

Spain, one of the candidates, was relegated on penalties, and now they must measure forces against a Portugal that looked free following the decision of their coach, Fernando Santos, to bench Cristiano in retaliation for gestures of disgust. was limited to. Substituted against South Korea in first round.

His substitute Gonsalo Ramos, who currently plays for Benfica, scored a hat-trick against Switzerland, putting a big question mark over the 37-year-old star’s appearances since Saturday’s start at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Nation World News Desk
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