Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic described their World Cup quarterfinal opponents Brazil as “terrifying” after the five-times champion thrashed South Korea 4-1 to send a clear message to its rivals.
Brazil, however, could be even stronger in Friday’s last-eight clash with the 2018 runners-up as left back Alex Sandro should be available, and it will be close to full-strength after several injury problems.
With talisman Neymar and key defender Danilo returning against South Korea after missing two games due to ankle problems, coach Tite had to improvise and started right-back Danilo on the left of the defence.
Tite is hoping to field his first-choice team against Croatia with full-backs Danilo and Sandro in their natural positions, sending versatile centre-back Eder Militao back to the substitutes’ bench after impressive performances.
Neymar looked sharp in 80 minutes on the pitch against South Korea, scoring a goal and showing no signs that his right foot was bothering him.
He will have extra motivation against Croatia, as he is one goal away from equalling Pele’s record for the most goals scored for Brazil (77).
Neymar scored his 76th against South Korea and paid tribute to the 82-year-old former Brazil great, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, holding a banner in the middle of the pitch with “Pele” written on it.
“It’s hard to talk about what Pele is going through, but I wish him all the best, I hope he gets back to good health as soon as possible and that we can comfort him with this victory and the banner we raised for him,” an emotional Neymar told a news conference.
After overcoming Japan on penalties on Monday following a 1-1 draw after extra time, Croatia faces the huge task of facing Brazil and its five-man attack, which blew away South Korea with four first-half goals.
Led by the experienced Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic, the 2018 finalist arrived in Qatar as one of the oldest teams. There are concerns about the fitness and form of key stalwarts after the gruelling 120- minute game against Japan.
“Brazil are the favourites, let’s face it,” Dalic told reporters. “Brazil are the most powerful and the best national team at the World Cup.
“What I’ve seen so far when you take a look at their players, their quality, skills and value, then it is indeed terrifying.
“We need to enter the match with much faith, self-confidence and looking for our chances, enjoy the occasion of playing Brazil, that’s it.”
Croatia vs Brazil Head-to-head record
Croatia wins: 0
Brazil wins: 3
Croatia goals: 2
Brazil goals: 7
August 17, 2005: Croatia 1-1 Brazil (Friendly)
June 13, 2006: Brazil 1-0 Serbia (World Cup)
June 12, 2014: Brazil 3-1 Croatia (World Cup)
June 3, 2018: Brazil 2-0 Croatia (Friendly)
Croatia vs Brazil Predicted XI
Croatia predicted XI: Livakovic(GK); Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic
Brazil predicted XI: Alisson(GK); Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison
When and where to watch
When will the Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match kick-off?
The Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match will kick-off at 8:30 pm IST, December 9.
Where will the Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match kick-off?
The Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match will kick-off at the Education City Stadium.
Where can you watch the Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match in India?
The Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and well as iOS, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be live streamed on JioCinema.
Where can you watch the Croatia vs Brazil quarterfinal match outside India?
Argentina – Live Stream: Telemundo
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports app, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – TV: CTV, TSN; Live Stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – TV: BBC One; Live Stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live Stream: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singtel TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro.
Get all the results for the FIFA World Cup 2022 here: Full list of all matches, scores, results, goalscorers
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