After the shocking elimination of pre-tournament favorites Brazil in the quarterfinals, Saturday’s encounter between the tournament’s reigning champions France and England, is the first of its kind. Morocco will play Portugal in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, hoping to become the first African or Arab nation to reach the semifinals. Portugal defeated Switzerland 6-1 in the round of 16 without Cristiano Ronaldo. France faces England after Brazil’s elimination is news of the day.
France faces England after Brazil’s elimination
With the help of tournament-leading scorer Kylian Mbappe, France has advanced to the quarterfinals as they defend their championship. England defeated the African champions Senegal by a score of 3-0 in the previous round on their way to tying for the tournament lead in goals scored with 12. They have not won a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup, losing in the semifinals the past four years to Croatia and the European Championship final at Wembley last year to Italy in a penalty shootout.
The Al Bayt Stadium winner between France and England will face either Morocco or Portugal in the quarterfinals. After shocking European powerhouses like Spain and Belgium, Morocco is further forward than ever. They are one game away from making history in African football, and they will have the support of the large majority of fans at Al Thumama Stadium.
Five-time winners Brazil were eliminated dramatically on Friday when they lost to Croatia on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Lionel Messi’s Argentina held off a late rally from the Netherlands to win in penalty kicks. Neymar’s goal in extra time appeared to send Brazil into the semifinals, tying Pele’s all-time scoring record for the Selecao. Late in the game, Bruno Petkovic scored Croatia’s equalizer with the team’s first shot on goal, and then Croatia went on to win the shootout 4-2 and advance to face Argentina in the finals.