The first of four quarter-final games at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will see 2018 runners-up Croatia take on five-time champions Brazil, with the winner edge closer to the possibility of being crowned as champions of the world.
Quarter-final preview: It's time to dance, but who will between Croatia and Brazil?
This will be the third World Cup meeting between both nations after Brazil helped eliminate Croatia from the 2006 and 2014 tournaments.
On Monday, Croatia came close to getting knocked out of the competition but had to fight back to level terms with Asian heavyweights Japan before seeing them off in the lottery of penalty kicks.
The Selecao on their part, found it easier to outclass their own Asian opponents in South Korea, scoring four times in the space of 36 minutes to send both the stadium and themselves into dancing modes.
Croatia vs Brazil Head-To-Head
Having met Brazil at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups, Croatia will hope that can get their first win after losing 3-1 and 1-0 in their previous meetings.
Their 2014 meeting saw Brazil defeat Croatia to start their campaign on a good note at home, before proceeding to the semifinal where they lost to Germany. As in 2014, they played Croatia in the 2006 group stages, also contributing to their first round elimination from the competition.
The only time Croatia has ever gotten something off Brazil was when they played out a 1-1 draw in a friendly in 2005. However, they would hope that they wouldn't experience the kind of heartbreak they got when they lost 2-0 in their most recent friendly in 2018.
Croatia vs Brazil Players To Watch
Ivan Perisic would be one to stop after his equaliser against Japan saw him go level with Davor Suker as Croatia’s leading goalscorer at the World Cup (6) - something that should expectedly fuel his desire to want to surpass Suker when his side takes on Brazil.
It was particularly thanks to Dominik Livakovic's penalty shootout saves against Japan that Croatia are in the quarterfinal stage of this competition. Beyond that, Livakovic played a vital role to keep Croatia at bay against Japan in normal regular time as he did in the group stages against Morocco and Belgium. Should he pull off such an impressive performance in the quarterfinals, Brazil might have a problem.
Coming up against Livakovic will be Neymar, who returned from an ankle injury to score in the 4-1 victory over South Korea and knows that a repeat of his brace in 2014’s meeting with Croatia would, see him overtake Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Another player will be Richarlison who alongside seven others, is in the running to win the golden boot of the competition. The Tottenham Hotspur man showed against South Korea as he did against Serbia, that should Croatia's defence go to bed at any point, they would dearly pay for it.
Croatia vs Brazil Coaches
Zlatko Dalic: “Croatia is a small country. We can claim to be one of the rare teams that reached this stage of the tournament two times. But we are ambitious. We will not rest here, and we try to win tomorrow.”
Croatia's possible starting lineup: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic
Tite: “They have individual quality and collective quality as well as resilience and persistence. We are aware of their virtues, but my focus is on maintaining our standards. Whoever plays best will go through.”
Brazil's possible starting lineup: Alisson; Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison
Croatia vs Brazil Prediction
Croatia, unlike in 2018, have flown under the radar to this stage but will be exposed by Brazil who have shown that they are really, starved of a World Cup title. Might be a bitter pill, but the World Cup is Brazil's birthright. They should find ease making the semi-finals, I'd say, Croatia 0-3 Brazil.