clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Storylines to watch in the Quarter Finals, part 1

Samba or Capoiera, Brazil are ready to dance.

Brazil v South Korea: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Wow, a couple days off was really refreshing and restful. After two and a half weeks of games every day, it was nice to get a break. I hope the time away was as nice for you and for the players as it was for me. We’re getting back to the games with a couple of potentially outstanding games, although there’s also the chance that these are both absolute stinkers — who knows, anything’s possible. Croatia vs. Brazil and the Netherlands vs. Argentina; it’s not really saying anything at this point to claim that we could see the ultimate winner advance to the Semifinals from this game, but it’s the case. Brazil are a very real contender, and Netherlands vs. Argentina feels like the first actual meeting of two teams capable of winning the whole thing.

We’re poised and prepared for legacy-defining moments for more than a few players. Guys like Leo Messi and Luka Modric are probably in their final World Cup, and they’ll be highly motivated to go out on a high note. Cody Gakpo and Vinicius Junior are at the opposite end of their careers from Messi and Modric, and continuing their stellar World Cup performances should only serve to further elevate their stature as they enter their prime and step into the starring roles. We’re back to business, so enough dillydallying.

Storylines to watch

7:00 AM - Croatia vs. Brazil: It’s football, it’s the World Cup, it’s a knockout game, and anything can happen. We could see an absolute chess match or a surprise smackdown from Croatia here, but what we’re probably going to see is more dancing from Brazil. Croatia kept one clean sheet through the Group Stage and Round of 16, a 0-0 against Belgium. A good Japan team took them the distance before falling on penalties, but Brazil is another beast entirely. Neymar played 80 minutes, had a goal and an assist and came out without an injury in Brazil’s 4-1 steamrolling of South Korea, a scoreline which easily could have been even more lopsided. No disrespect to Croatia, but it’s going to take something bordering on an act of god to keep this Brazil team off the scoresheet, and frankly if they get one they’re getting multiple.

With that in mind, the thing to watch in this game is going to be the dancing. Raphinha has claimed that they prepare 10 dances for each game. How many will we see against Croatia? Will they be repeating any from the game against South Korea, or are they running a fresh set list this game?

Watch the game on Fox, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

11:00 AM - Netherlands vs. Argentina: This might be the biggest and best game of the tournament so far. The Dutch are, so far, undefeated, having only failed to defeat Ecuador in a Group Stage match which they drew 1-1. They made simple enough work of Senegal and Qatar, but in their 3-1 win over the USMNT this team started showing how devastating they can be. They’re hitting their groove just in time, because Argentina should be the toughest foe they’ve met. After their surprise 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening Group Stage game, Argentina have been vibing. Lionel Messi is, obviously, their talismanic figure and best player. Argentina would love to win the World Cup (duh, everyone does), but it feels especially weighty and important for them as Messi approaches the end of his career. He’s got a team around him that’s good enough to get him there, but the Dutch won’t make it easy for them.

Ultimately, this game feels like it’s going to be decided by whether or not Messi can conjure up a wish for his nation, and whether that’ll be enough to overcome the plans and tactics of Louis van Gaal.

Watch the game on Fox, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

You can catch replays of all games in English on or Spanish on Peacock 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart