Croatia meet Brazil at Education City Stadium in the opening Quarter-Final of 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Victory would see Croatia reach the last four for a second consecutive World Cup tournament, whilst Brazil are chasing a first semi-final appearance since 2014.
Croatia have no fresh injury concerns to report after defeating Japan on penalties in the Round of 16, following a comeback 1-1 draw, although Borna Sosa could return after he missed the win due to illness.
Borna Barisic, Dejan Lovren, Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric could each miss the semi-finals if they’re booked.
Brazil also have no fresh injury concerns to report following their victory against South Korea in Round of 16, as Alex Sandro (hip) remains a doubt after missing their last two matches.
Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles both remain absent with knee injuries for rest of this tournament.
Eder Militao, Fred and Bruno Guimaraes will miss the semi-finals if any of the trio pick up a yellow card in this match.
- Croatia have lost each of their last two World Cup meetings against Brazil (L2), which both came in the Group Stage – losing 1-0 in June 2006 then 3-1 in 2014.
- Brazil have conceded just one across their two previous World Cup meetings against Croatia (W2).
- Brazil are yet to lose to Croatia in all competitions (W3, D1).
- In the two matches in which Croatia found the net at this World Cup, Zlatko Dalic’s Croatians have come from behind in both games.
- Three of Brazil’s seven goals at this World Cup has been scored by Richarlison.
Having looked refreshed and dominant in their comfortable high-energy victory over South Korea, Brazil surely have to be favourites such is their attacking quality but I do anticipate some tactical tweaks in order to counteract any prospect of an electric Croatian comeback.
Speaking of Croatia, they were second-best for large parts against Japan in the Round of 16 yet somehow managed to come from behind to score like they did against Canada, although they were held to a draw in this instance but got the job done on penalties.
The big question though now lies in how much Croatia has exerted physically across four demanding matches, because I feel like they must score first against Brazil otherwise I can’t see them staging another comeback for the third time in their last four games.
In fact, I just feel like Brazil will ultimately have too much for Croatia if they can play like they did on Monday but another conceded goal wouldn’t be too surprising, given Brazil’s recent slip in defensive focus in their last two games.
Prediction: Croatia 1-2 Brazil
Result: Croatia 1-1 Brazil (Croatia win 4-2 on penalties!!)