2022 Men's World Cup: Power Ranking Every Team in the Quarterfinals
The round of eight is set!
Who has the best shot of advancing to the semifinals at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
We've ranked the sides based on their performance in the round of 16 and squad quality. This is the point of the tournament where the top teams' difference-makers begin to stand out.
With only 12 days until the final, the pressure will only mount.
Here are Bleacher Report's power rankings following the quarterfinals.
No. 8: Croatia
Croatia survived and advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Japan 3-1 on penalties Monday.
Both teams were evenly matched, and Croatia's performance against the Samurai Blue was commendable.
The Vatreni have reached the quarter-finals for the third time in their history.
However, their luck may run out in the next round.
Brazil looks dangerous.
Its 4-1 thumping of South Korea was impressive and cemented the Brazilians as the team to beat at the tournament.
Not only will Croatia have to deal with mental and physical fatigue, but Brazil also plays a brand of football that is difficult to defend. Croatia may be unable to fend off a Brazilian attack for a full 90 minutes.
No. 7: Morocco
Morocco’s Cinderella run continued as it beat Spain 3-0 on penalties Tuesday.
In what was a physically draining game, the Atlas Lions fought hard to nullify the Spanish attack on their way to the quarter-finals.
Manager Walid Regragui deserves a ton of credit, as he successfully set up his side to stymie Spain's midfield and limit their chances on target.
The 4-3-3 Morocco deployed was tactically excellent. The midfield display by Sofyan Amrabat was key to this.
His defensive positioning and work rate saw Spain's midfield rendered ineffective. He ended the game with four tackles and nine recoveries.
The next game against Portugal will be just as tricky.
The Portuguese played well against Switzerland. Their attack flowed, and they did well in transition without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
Morocco will have its hands full, but if it implements a similar game plan to the one it did against Spain, it could make Portugal go the distance.
No. 6: England
England impressed in its round-of-16 win over Senegal.
Though it took the side the majority of the first half to get going offensively, Jordan Henderson broke the deadlock in the 39th minute. After that, the floodgates opened.
Goals by Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka sealed the 3-0 victory.
England's quarterfinal match against France will be far more complicated, however.
Coming off a 3-1 win vs. Poland, Les Bleus look hungry to repeat as world champions.
Kylian Mbappé is in fantastic form, and it'll take a monumental effort to stop him. England has a solid defense that saw it let in only two goals in its last four matches. Offensively, the side has enough firepower up top, led by Kane, to score multiple goals.
The game will be tight, but by no means will England roll over.
It reached the semi-finals in 2018, and there's no reason it can't do it again.
No. 5: Netherlands
The Netherlands comfortably dispatched an ill-prepared USMNT as it booked its ticket to the quarterfinals. Louis Van Gaal’s men slashed through a confused U.S. defense.
Setting up his side in a 3-4-1-2, the Dutch sat back and let the Stars and Stripes dominate possession. It stayed defensively compact as the U.S. looked for an opening.
As the game progressed, the Netherlands broke out of its shell and struck in transition. Its speedy forward line, led by Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay, blew past a disorganized U.S. midfield on its way to scoring three goals.
In the next round, expect to see something similar against Argentina. The Netherlands will sit back, be patient in defense and strike on the counter. On the flip side, if it has most of the possession, it’ll build up patiently, cycling the ball in its midfield until there’s an opening in the opposition's final third.
It will be a tough one, but if the Dutch can keep Lionel Messi at bay and take their offensive chances, there’s a good chance they can beat Argentina.
No. 4: Argentina
The magic of Lionel Messi never fails.
Argentina showed resilience and heart as it beat a defensively tough Australian side 2-1. It stayed patient, maybe even too safe at times, and calmly took its offensive chances when it received them.
Of course, Messi had to have his say in the scoreline, too.
Unfortunately, Argentina won't have the luxury of playing safe against the Netherlands in the next round.
The Dutch are defensively sturdy and can be deadly in transition. Argentina tends to concede goals when its back line gets stretched.
If they can keep it tight in defense and be clinical in attack, La Albiceleste could sail to the semifinal.
No. 3: Portugal
Portugal sailed to the quarterfinals with a 6-1 thumping of Switzerland.
Despite Cristiano Ronaldo being on the bench to start the match, the Portuguese went off, scoring six goals to cement their place in the next round. Goncalo Ramos stole the show with a three-goal performance.
The question heading into their next game is whether to start Ronaldo in his place. Ramos did a great job leading the line. But against Morocco's strong defense, the Portuguese will need a much more mobile and clinical striker up top.
Ramos is more than capable of doing that job. Morocco will be tired and physically beat up when it faces Fernando Santos' men.
If the Portuguese can repeat what they did to Switzerland, there's no question that they will be able to get to the semifinals.
No. 2: France
Kylian Mbappé is having the tournament of his life. Not only did his two goals steal the show during France's 3-1 win against Poland in the round of 16, but he also surpassed Pelé with the most goals scored by a men’s player before turning 24.
Offensively, the French set up to get the most out of Mbappé. Lining up in a 4-2-1-3, Les Bleus run their attack to isolate their wingers against the opposition's defense. When they get into those areas, either Mbappe or Ousmane Dembélé will cut inside, look for a teammate/shoot or get to the end line and cross.
The best example of this was Mbappe's 74th-minute goal against Poland.
The biggest question heading into the next round is how their defense will hold up.
Against Poland, they made a few blunders that should've led to goals. England will more than likely finish off those mistakes if that happens again in the quarterfinals.
The game will be evenly matched, but France has the edge here with Mbappé in the form of his life.
No. 1: Brazil
Brazil showed the world why it's one of the favorites to win the tournament with its 4-1 thrashing of South Korea in the round of 16. Jogo Bonito was on full display.
With Neymar returning to the field, Tite’s men could play the free-flowing football synonymous with the country.
Setting up in 4-2-3-1, Brazil easily sliced through South Korea's defensive lines. Using its wingers to attack from the flanks and a center-forward willing to be a physical presence up top in Richarlison, the men in yellow excel at scoring in transition.
They're adept at breaking quickly and using short, quick passing patterns to get out of trouble, then spring on the counter.
Defensively, they look solid as well. Though they gave up a stunning goal in the 76th minute, the center-back pairing of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva has been reliable.
Brazil's quarterfinal game against Croatia will be challenging, but the return of Neymar has given them an extra gear.
It won't be easy, but the Brazilians have enough firepower to get past a tired Croatian defense and into the semifinals.