Quarter-final preview; the shocks keep coming

When this World Cup ends on 18th December, we the football community will only then start to realise what we have missed. Football’s biggest showpiece which will run for a little more than one month has had it all.

Critics, will no doubt be bulldozing the political agenda, but to those ‘politicians’, why were you silent in 2018? In 2018, when Russia was hosting the tournament, the same Russia that has anti-gay laws.

Anyway, back to what we do best, talk about football, which we love here at the-sports-buff.com. In the group stages, the tone was set for what was going to be a World Cup, which would go against the norm.

The reason for that was former world champions Germany and former world number one side Belgium would crash out at the group stages.

If that wasn’t shocking enough Morocco would beat Spain and Portugal in the quarter-finals to become the first African side to get to the semi-finals of a World Cup. There are more shocks to come.

Croatia beat Brazil, courtesy of a penalty shootout and Argentina did the same when they faced Holland. The game between the Argentinians and the Dutch would have been a game where many would have expected Lionel Scaloni’s men to have progressed through to the semis.

This though is Qatar 2022 a tournament that has spoilt us rotten with drama, shocks, upsets and twists. So, Croatia beating tournament favourites Brazil means they face Argentina in the semi-final and the other semi-final sees Morocco face England’s conqueror France.

The match between England and France was another well-fought game where England, who fell behind to a superb Aurelian Tchouameni strike, fought back brilliantly to level, only to be done by an Olivier Giroud header.

It finished 2-1 to world champions France, with The Three Lions having the consolation prize of playing very well. Sadly though Gareth Southgate’s men didn’t progress to the semi-final, arguably owing to some poor officiating, but they made their country proud.

Talking of making their country proud, this is what could be said about Croatia who were beaten finalists four years ago, they’re now in another semi-final. The difference is from four years ago and now is that the Croats have changed a fair part of their team.

Another team is Morocco, who have defied the odds. Lazily being compared to Greece of 2004, is unfair, rather it’s fair to say that The Atlas Lions have been defensively very sound like the Greeks were 18 years ago, they do have pace and speed on the break like Leicester’s title-winning in the 2016 season.

Walid Regragui‘s men have risen to every challenge to every challenge thrown at them, but the challenge of Didier Deschamps France’s side, will no doubt be the biggest in Regragui’s short tenure.

The first semi-final which will be between Argentina and Croatia will kick off at 19:00 GMT, and I for one can’t wait!

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