After more than two weeks of incredible soccer, the 2022 World Cup's quarterfinals begin Friday. Last month, 32 countries sent their best to compete for the championship title in Qatar. Most of the competitors were eliminated after this past week's Round of 16. The final eight countries' teams will advance to their quarterfinals matchups Friday and Saturday.
The quarterfinals lineup currently includes Brazil, Croatia, Argentina, the Netherlands, Morocco, Portugal, England and France. Brazil and Croatia will be first to face off.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Portugal dominated Switzerland with a final score of 6-1. Morocco qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time after a stunning penalty shootout. Brazil, a top contender, secured their spot with a decisive 4-1 win over South Korea. Croatia pulled ahead in a penalty shootout at the end of a close game with Japan. France and England also won their Sunday matches. The United States exited Saturday after facing a strong performance by the Netherlands.
Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, 82, was hospitalized last week due to a lung infection. During their Round of 16 match, Brazil's players and fans honored Pelé, who led Brazil to three World Cup titles decades ago. Doctors at Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, say his health is improving.
The United States' exit came days after a long and tense match with Iran, which also put a spotlight on the political tension between the two countries. Germany, Uruguay and Mexico were also strong competitors who exited the tournament unexpectedly early.
Argentina and Brazil both appear to have the clear paths to victory. But with 10 days left and eight teams still competing for the title, anything can happen.