intense, action-packed days, the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar graduated from the
group stages and entered the unforgiving knockouts on December 3. While the
Cup has been synonymous with upsets with four-time world champions Germany and world number two Belgium crashing out of it, a few other heavyweights such as
Brazil, Argentina, and France have held their own and advanced forward despite
losing one match each. The round of 16 is also characterized by the presence of teams from six continents.
a look at the fixtures:
vs USMNT – The Dutch take on the USMNT at 8.30 pm IST in the first round of 16
encounters of the event. In a rare encounter between two unbeaten teams, the
Dutch are expected to have an upper hand but a spirited USMNT could mount a
serious challenge, as was apparent in their match with England.
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vs Australia – The match begins at 12:30 am IST. While Argentina looked shaky
after a shock upset to minnow Saudi, the Messi-led La Albicelestes have since ridden back
to rhythm and are major favourites against Australia.
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Poland: The match will see defending world champions France take on a respected
Polish side in the battle for a quarter-final spot. Poland, who were lucky to
edge out Mexico in the group stages will have it tough against a time-tested
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Senegal – While England can be considered major favourites on paper against Senegal,
anyone having seen the African side’s spirited campaign would hesitate to rule
them out. Senegal is capable of troubling England although the advantage rests
with the Brits.
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Croatia – This battle will one of be the tightest in the first round of
knockouts with two inform sides fighting it out for a place in the quarters.
Croatia’s solidity pitted against Japan’s unpredictability will make for an intense clash.
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South Korea – Brazil start as heavy favourites despite having lost their last
match and Korea having won theirs. Brazil’s formidable attack is expected to
pierce the Korean defence but not before a spirited fight.
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Spain – In another match-up of form vs class, Spain will start as favourites but
with good knowledge of Morocco’s mischief potential as was witnessed in their
2-0 beating of Belgium.
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Switzerland – In the second all-Europe clash of the round of 16, a fierce fight
is expected but Cristiano Ronaldo’s consistent team will be favoured over
Switzerland who had to struggle into the knockouts.