Goncalo Ramos grabbed the headlines with a hattrick while Ronaldo started on the bench.
The temperature is rising in Qatar as the FIFA World Cup 2022 is inching toward its climax. We have witnessed some of the biggest footballing powerhouses go up against each other for a spot in the quarter-finals. While some tasted success the others were forced to take the flight back home.
Morocco stunned the world by defeating Spain in the Round of 16. The African nation carried on their good work and managed to send the 2010 World Champions back home. Spain failed to find the back of the net against Morocco in 120 minutes. They ended up going down in penalties thanks to Yassine Bounou’s excellent glove work.
Netherlands, Argentina, France, England, Brazil, and Portugal went about their business with ease and sealed a spot in the next round. Croatia did have a tough time against Japan but they came out on top in the penalty shootout.
Netherlands 3-1 USA; Argentina 2-1 Australia; France 3-1 Poland; England 3-0 Senegal; Japan 1-1 Croatia (1-3 on pens); Brazil 4-1 South Korea; Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 on pens); Portugal 6-1 Switzerland.
Netherlands vs Argentina
France vs England
Croatia vs Brazil
Morocco vs Portugal
The fans witnessed some high-quality footballing action in the Round of 16 over the last few days. We might be down to the final 8 but there is a lot more to come. Before we shift our focus to the quarter-finals of the World Cup let’s have a look at the Team of the Round of 16.
GK: Yassine Bounou (Morocco)
Yassine was absolutely sensational in the penalty shootout. The Morocco shot-stopper stood tall and saved multiple penalties to help his team reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022. During the match, he did have some very nervy moments with his feet. But, he was excellent with hands in keeping a star-studded Spanish XI at bay.
LB: Daley Blind (Netherlands)
The Netherlands outplayed the USA in the round of 16 fixture with the help of their wingbacks. Everyone expects Denzel to be deadly on the right but it was great to see Blind roll back the years and put up a great show on the left. The 32-year-old converted a Dumfries’s cross to score his first Netherlands goal since 2014. The Ajax defender even added an assist to his name on the day.
CB: Pepe (Portugal)
Pepe led Portugal into the round of 16 clash against Switzerland with Ronaldo on the bench. Once again he was up for the challenge and was spot-on with his defensive duties. The former Real Madrid defender scored Portugal’s second goal of the night. With this goal, he became the oldest scorer in the history of the World Cup knockout stages. Portugal thrashed Switzerland 6-1 and are on their way to the quarter-finals.
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CB: Thiago Silva (Brazil)
Silva has been one of the best defenders in the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022. He has been at it right from the first match. While he is on the pitch, Brazil looks a lot more composed and deadly. The Chelsea defender once again showcased some excellent range of passing at both ends of the pitch. The Brazilian skipper didn’t have much defensive work to do. But, he ensured that South Korean forward Cho doesn’t get much involvement in the game.
RB: Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)
Denzel Dumfries was on fire against the USA for the Netherlands. He was flawless in defence and as far as the attack goes he was second to none. The Inter Milan wing-back set up the first two goals for the Dutch side and went on to score the third for his team. It was a complete performance by Dumfries as his side booked a slot in the quarter-finals.
CM: Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)
Morocco came out on top against Spain in penalties, Bounou was the difference between the two teams. But, Sofyan was a key contributor who ensured that Morocco do not concede against the European giants. He kept running at everything and made some exceptional interceptions. Even during the extra time when others were short of breath, Amrabat went at it all guns blazing. He was Morocco’s N’Golo Kanté on the night.
CM: Lucas Paqueta (Brazil)
Brazil eased past South Korea in the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup. The South American nation scored 4 times in the first half and there was no way back for Son’s team. Paqueta stepped up to the plate and brought flair and energy. He won all his midfield battles and was involved in numerous Brazil attacks. Paqueta made sure he had his name on the score sheet as he netted Brazil’s fourth goal.
CM: Jude Bellingham (England)
Senegal felt the heat against England in their round of 16 fixture. The Three Lions scored thrice against the African nation to cement their place in the quarter-finals. It was a stellar performance by Jude Bellingham that helped England ease past their opponents. The Dortmund midfielder took up really clever positions in the middle of the park to initiate counter-press. He won the ball back high up on the pitch and dominated the midfield. Jude’s amazing run and a well-timed ball helped Henderson get on the scoresheet.
LW: Kylian Mbappe (France)
Mbappe’s record in the World Cup is second to none. The young French forward has been on fire in the ongoing tournament. He added another brace to his name against Poland in the round of 16. The PSG star played in Giroud for his record-breaking goal. Mbappe was on it from the word go and he didn’t stop till the final whistle. If France wants to retain the World Cup, the 23-year-old is the man who can do it for them.
ST: Goncalo Ramos (Portugal)
Starting ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo brings a lot of pressure with it. The limelight is always on you and doubters are ready to pounce on any mistake you make. But, Ramos started off in fine fashion with a goal early in the first half. The 21-year-old striker went on to complete his hat trick and became the youngest do to so after Pele. He gave the Swiss defenders a tough time with his physique as well as technique.
RW: Vinicius Jr (Brazil)
Vinicius was magnificent on the left wing for Brazil in the round of 16 and we had to involve him in the XI. The 22-year-old scored his second goal for the national team against South Korea. It was an all-round performance by the Madrid winger. He created numerous chances and was a constant threat from the left-hand side with his pace.