Athletic

Qatar World Cup: Are Brazil and Japan favourites to meet in quarterfinals?

Group G winner Brazil will take on Group H runner-up South Korea tonight in their Round of 16 fixtures. Group E winner Japan will play against Group F runner-up Croatia in their last-16 encounter. Five-time champions Brazil are considered favourites against South Korea, while Japan have emerged as a slight favourite against 2018 runner-up Croatia after their brilliant showing in the group phase. The winners of these two matches will meet in the quarter-finals, so Brazil and Japan can face off in the last eight of the Qatar World Cup.

 

FIFA World Cup 2022: Brazil vs South Korea match preview

 

The Brazilian campaign is in a bit of a crisis after Gabriel Jesus and Alex Tellas were both ruled out due to injury issues. However, Neymar Jr. will be back and most likely start the match for Brazil, which is big news for them.

 

Read More: Unpredictable FIFA World Cup 2022: What we can expect more in the knockout rounds

 

There will be some major changes in the Brazilian starting XI, and coach Tite may deploy an attacking-minded eleven against South Korea to get an early lead in the contest. The formation could be 4-3-3, where Neymar will play the attacking midfield position to create chances for the forwards.

 

South Korea, on the other hand, will likely deploy a defensive approach for the contest. Starman Son Heung-min hasn’t been in his usual form this World Cup, which is a big negative point for the Korean side. He needs to step up for his national side, and what better occasion could there be than the Brazil match to unleash his true potential?

 

South Korea will likely play with two defensive midfielders in order to discard Brazil’s continuous attacking threat and try to find the equalizer through a counter-attack. But will their strategy work against the Selecao in order to keep them from scoring in 90 minutes?

 

Prediction: Brazil will certainly start as hot favourite to win their Round of 16 match against South Korea, and the scoreline could be 3-1.

 

Qatar World Cup 2022: Japan vs Croatia match preview

 

Japan surprised everyone after securing its place in the Round of 16 as the winner of Group E. They defeated two former champions, Germany and Spain, in the group stage, which has piqued the interest of football fans.

 

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A significant number of Japanese players play in Europe’s top-tier leagues, which boosts their confidence and results on the field. Goalkeeper Gonda, forward player Ritsu Doan, the defensive line led by Tomiyasu, and Taniguchi have been doing well for their country. These players will be important again in this crucial contest against Croatia.

 

Japan may deploy a 3-1-3-3 formation in order to take control of the midfield. Their wing-backs will be important in formulating attacks.

 

Croatia, on the other hand, haven’t had the best time so far in Qatar 2022, except for the match against Canada. They finished second in their group behind a rejuvenated Moroccan side.

 

The 2018 champions will be led by veteran midfielder Luka Modric. Kramaric and Perisic will be crucial upfront, while Dejan Lovren and Juranovic have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibilities at the back.

 

One of the important things to consider is that most of their key players are over 30 years old, and the Japanese team can take advantage of this by bringing fresh legs in order to win one-on-one duels.

 

Croatia will likely deploy a 4-3-3 formation for this game, with Modric playing the creative midfield role.

 

Prediction: The majority expects Japan to overcome its Round of 16 fixture against Croatia after two magnificent victories over Germany and Spain. The match may end in extra time or even a penalty shootout.

 

Read More: Qatar World Cup: Who are likely to advance to the quarterfinals?

 

Aftermath

 

Brazil’s team has too much quality to overcome South Korea in their Round of 16 Qatar World Cup match. On the other side, Japan, who dominated in the group stage, has emerged as the favorite in its Round of 16 encounter against Croatia. If Brazil and Japan win their respective matches tonight, they will face off in the quarterfinals, and the odds are in their favour.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh