Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 predictions, quarter-final fixtures and results: Friday 9 December

Two massive contests see the 2022 Fifa World Cup crank up yet another gear on Friday, with the first of the quarter-finals in Qatar.

Five-time winners Brazil are in ominous form as they go up against Russia 2018 runners-up Croatia.

Then it’s a famous old football battle between Lionel Messi’s Argentina and the Netherlands, with the winners of these two taking each other on in the semi-finals.

World Cup predictions and fixtures for 9 December

*All kick off times are in Central Africa Time.

Quarter-final: Croatia vs Brazil – 17.00

Brazil go head-to-head with Croatia in the quarter-finals at the 2022 Fifa World Cup on Friday, with a coveted place in the last four at stake in Qatar.

The pair come into the crunch tie off the back of wildly different victories in the Round of 16 stage.

Neymar marked his comeback from injury with a penalty goal as the Selecao wiped the floor with South Korea on Monday night.

Vinicius Junior kicked off the rout in the seventh minute before Neymar’s 12-yard effort, an amazing goal from Richarlison and a fourth from Lucas Paqueta detonated the contest with just 36 minutes on the clock.

It was fortunate for the Koreans that the Samba kings had decided that would suffice, rather than unleash any more mayhem.

And Paik Seung-ho created a lasting memory with a fine strike of his own late on, ensured a 4-1 loss was the limit of the damage.

No such luck for the Croatians.

They came through only via the circuitous route of extra time and a penalty shootout against never-say-die Japan.

Dominik Livakovic saved a trio of Japanese spot kicks, including their first two, allowing Mario Pasalic to slot home for a grueling victory.

And they were thankful to a header from veteran Ivan Perisic for getting that far in the first place, with his equaliser cancelling out a deserved opener from Daizen Maeda for the Samurai Blue.

So it is the finalists from last time around must leap into the collective ice bath and freshen up in time for Friday’s do-or-die contest with the most dangerous looking nation in the competition.

Quarter-final: Netherlands vs Argentina – 21.00

A classic Fifa World Cup contest pits the Netherlands and Argentina against each other at the quarter-final stage of Qatar 2022 on Friday night.

The South Americans are on an increasingly desperate hunt to reclaim the global crown they last earned in 1986, with one Diego Maradona taking centre stage.

And the comparisons are obvious as present day hero Lionel Messi continues to wow the crowds in his fifth World Cup.

It was Messi’s opening goal that paved the way for a largely comfortable success against Australia in the Round of 16 last Saturday, albeit with a late wobble towards the end of a 2-1 win.

The 35-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star and Barcelona legend has shown little sign of age this tournament.

Their shambolic opening match loss to Saudi Arabia aside, that is.

But momentum is certainly building for those in blue and white, with victories over Mexico and Poland setting the tone for the last 16 progress at the expense of the Socceroos.

The Dutch came through Group A with minimal fuss.

A kind pool draw helped, including hopeless hosts Qatar, but it has left veteran coach Louis van Gaal and his charges open to accusations of failing to follow their Total Football doctrine of the late Johan Cruyff et al.

But they’re in the last eight regardless, with Saturday’s comfortable, 3-1 victory over the United States of America doing the job in the first knockout phase.

The 2010 runners-up in South Africa have endured an at times torrid decade or so since losing to Spain in South Africa.

And the pressure is well and truly on now, with Messi and Co lying in wait.

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