The quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is set to begin on December 9, 2022.
The pool of 32 teams that began their quest to become the World Champion has shrunk to just eight now, with Brazil and Croatia playing the first of four matches.
Before the quarters, here is a look at the five most exciting quarterfinal fixtures in the FIFA World Cup over the years:
Netherlands vs Costa Rica – 2014, Brazil
The quarterfinal match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica turned out to be the colosseum of glory for Tim Krul as the goalkeeper, who became the hero of the match at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.
After the contest remained locked at 0-0 after 120 minutes, Louis Van Gaal replaced Jasper Cillessen with Krul in the last second of extra-time.
The Netherlands had lost each of their previous four World Cup matches that had gone into extra time. But this time, the story ended differently.
Two key saves – off Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana – by Krul helped the Dutch enter the semifinals with a 4-3 victory on shootouts.
Uruguay vs Ghana – 2010, South Africa
Though Uruguay and Ghana’s contest saw both teams get eliminated from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the previous clash between them remains one of the most volatile clashes in the history of the tournament.
A 40-yard stunner from Ghana’s Sulley Muntari, followed by an equaliser from Uruguay’s Diego Forlan forced the match into extra-time.
In the last moments of second-half extra-time, Luiz Suarez stopped Ghan’s shot on goal with his hands, resulting in an instant red card for him and a spot-kick for the Black Stars.
Asamoah Gyan took it and shot miles off target, taking the match into a penalty shootout – one that Uruguay went on to win 4-2.
Twelve years later, Ghana got some solace in its quest for vengeance when it stopped Uruguay from scoring the third goal as La Celeste was knocked out of Qatar 2022.
England vs Portugal – 2006
Remember Cristiano Ronaldo winking after Wayner Rooney was sent off in the World Cup? Yes, this was the match.
A match that saw captain David Beckham leave the field at half-time due to an injury and Rooney’s unceremonious exit after a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho, was forced into penalties following a 0-0 scoreline after 120 minutes of football.
The day, which had already been one to forget for the Three Lions saw three of their best Premier League players – Frank Lampard, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard – have their spot-kicks saved.
Simao, Helder Postiga and Cristiano Ronaldo scored as Portugal progressed to the semis, where France would later eliminate it.
Senegal vs Turkey – 2002
The concept of a Golden Goal may be alien to the latest generation of football fans, but the last of it in a men’s FIFA World Cup came in a quarterfinal 20 years ago at the Nagai Stadium in Japan.
Aliou Cisse – the head coach of Senegal at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – was a starter for the team, which kept the Turks locked in a goalless match, until regulation time.
But all that effort ended up to nothing after a breakthrough goal in the 94th minute of extra-time.
The mohican-man Umit Davala made a darting run along the right, crossed into the centre for Ilhan Mansiz, who tucked it in, taking Turkey to its first-ever FIFA World Cup semifinal.
Sweden vs Romania – 1994
Sweden was playing a quarterfinal game in the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958 and it was Romania’s first-ever quarters.
Tomas Brolin of Sweden broke the deadlock from a pass by Hakan Mild, following a free-kick in the 78th minute. But Romania made it all square 10 minutes later, with Florin Raducioiu finding the net.
As the match trudged into extra-time, Raducioiu doubles the lead, taking Romania into the driving seat.
The match, however, was not finished yet.
Kennet Andersson – with a frame of 6 ft 4 inches – outjumped Romania’s goalkeeper to score the equaliser five minutes before the end of extra-time, forcing the match into penalties.
Sweden went on to win the shootout 5-4 on sudden death – completing a stunning comeback win in the World Cup quarterfinal.