The World Cup Quarter-Finals begin today. It’s the time for the planet’s greatest footballers to come good.
Most of them have been living with hopes of playing in a Quarter-Final their whole lives. For many, it’s a one-time opportunity.
Croatia – Brazil, and Netherlands – Argentina are the first QF matches being played on Friday.
What can we expect? Who’s in, who’s out? Who should you monitor for your fantasy football team?
Croatia – Brazil
Players to watch
Neymar – Brazil played an outrageous attacking football last time around. South Korea was their victim. Yes, Croatia might just be a notch above their Asian counterparts. After all, the last time around, they made it all the way to the final.
Neymar’s return from injury was greeted with a joyous performance from his teammates. Much of the same can happen today.
The PSG forward leads most of Selecao‘s attacking opportunities. If he avoids injury, he can be the MVP once more.
Marcelo Brozovic – Croatia remains a team that seems to switch between playmakers. However, at this World Cup, Brozovic has often taken responsibility for the team’s build-up phase.
No player sees more of the ball. And no Croatian player is expected to do more with it. Brozovic plays a vital role in Zlatko Dalic’s setup.
Brazil Starting XI: 1. Alisson (GK) — 14. Eder Militao, 4. Marquinhos, 3. Silva, 2. Danilo — 5. Casemiro, 7. Paqueta — 11. Raphinha, 10. Neymar, 20. Vinicius Jr — 9. Richarlison
Croatia Starting XI: 1. Livakovic (GK) — 22. Juranovic, 6. Lovren, 20. Gvardiol, 19. Sosa — 10. Modric, 11. Brozovic, 8. Kovacic — 9. Kramaric, 16. Pasalic, 4. Perisic.
Denzel Dumfries – Dumfries has had moments of brilliance during this World Cup. He’s also had times when he seemed to disappear from the game.
The last time around, he won MOTM against a powerful USA side. Against an Argentina side that has shown defensive weakness, the Inter Milan wing-back could come alive once again.
Rodrigo de Paul – Lionel Messi may be the one performing veritable magic tricks for Argentina. However, Rodrigo de Paul is the player keeping everything together.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder has been Argentina’s playmaker. Being given this responsibility is no small thing. It’s especially true considering the options that the Argentines have at their disposal.
Netherlands Predicted XI: Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, De Roon, De Jong, Blind; Klaasen; Gakpo, Depay
Argentina Predicted XI: Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez