World Cup quarter-final: Croatia vs. Brazil prediction, preview and team news

The 2018 runners-up take on the 2022 favourites at Education City Stadium

Casemiro and Neymar Jr of Brazil and Luka Modrić and Ivan Perisic of Croatia
Casemiro and Neymar Jr of Brazil and Luka Modrić and Ivan Perisic of Croatia
(Image credit: Fifa via Getty Images)

An intriguing encounter will kick off the quarter-final stage at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Tournament favourites Brazil danced their way into the last eight with a 4-1 victory over South Korea and 2018 runners-up Croatia needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Japan after their last-16 match ended 1-1.

Much of the focus at Education City Stadium will be on the two No.10s – Croatia’s Luka Modric and Brazil’s Neymar. Four years ago at the World Cup in Russia Modric won the golden ball as the tournament’s best player while Neymar is aiming to make a similar impact in Qatar. The performances of both players will be crucial to their nations’ chances of winning on Friday.

Croatia will go into the match as underdogs, but forward Ivan Perisic, who scored against Japan, said “everything is possible” and his team-mates “have to believe”. In football “anything can happen” and “we need to fight as hard as we can”, he added. “We showed that in the last World Cup in Russia. We had the character to come back in even the toughest games. We’re a really solid squad.”

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The winners of this match will face the Netherlands or Argentina in the semi-final.

Brazil players celebrate the 4-1 victory over South Korea in the last 16

Brazil celebrate the 4-1 victory over South Korea in the last 16
(Image credit: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images)

Match facts

  • Who: Croatia vs. Brazil
  • What: Fifa World Cup quarter-final
  • When: Friday 9 December 2022
  • Where: Education City Stadium
  • Kick-off time: 3pm (all times GMT)

How to watch on TV in the UK

The first quarter-final on Friday between Croatia and Brazil will be shown live in the UK on BBC One and iPlayer. TV coverage begins at 2.30pm and the match kicks off at 3pm.

Team news

Brazil are without Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles who were ruled out of the rest of the World Cup because of knee injuries. Alex Sandro missed the win against South Korea, so if he’s not fit Danilo will continue at left-back.

Borna Sosa, Croatia’s left-back, missed the win over Japan because of illness, but should be fit enough to return in place of Borna Barisic. Josip Stanisic, who also missed the Japan game, remains a doubt and will be “assessed ahead of kick-off”, said Oliver Thomas on SportsMole.

Possible starting XIs

  • Croatia: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic
  • Brazil: Alisson; Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison

Croatia stars Dejan Lovren and Luka Modric

Croatia stars Dejan Lovren and Luka Modric
(Image credit: Ayman Aref/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


While Brazil are “brimming with confidence”, Friday’s contest “may not be a cakewalk” against a team of Croatia’s calibre with their “knockout-stage pedigree”, said Oliver Thomas on SportsMole. Croatia have “frustrated many opponents” on the biggest stage, but a match-up with the tournament favourites “could be a step too far”. Prediction: Croatia 1 Brazil 2.

Croatia have “lived up to their billing” as the “masters of going the distance”, said Ume Elvis on SportsKeeda. And they will have to “bring their dogged tenacity to the fore” if they are to get anything here. Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic is “likely to prioritise compact defensiveness” to try and limit Brazil’s attacking threat. However, Neymar, Vinicius and Richarlison will be “confident of breaking any rearguard” in their current form. Prediction: Croatia 1 Brazil 3.

It would be a “gross underestimation” of Croatia’s “evident grit” to suggest that they will wilt before Brazil’s “flicks and tricks”, said Grey Whitebloom on However, this Brazil side “should have enough” to overpower a “dogged (and dog-tired)” Croatia. Prediction: Croatia 0 Brazil 2.

Croatia have “shown nothing” to indicate they can compete with Brazil at this stage of the tournament, said Kyle Bonn on Sporting News. “Flat out, end of story.” They “don’t have enough” in their attack, and unless they manage to keep Brazil “off the scoresheet”, they will have “little up front to match the goals they concede”. Prediction: Croatia 0 Brazil 2 .

The Croats “weren’t at their best” against Japan, but they got the job done and “will hope they can continue a trend”, said George Gamble on Sporting Life. The market “favours” Brazil, and “rightly so”, but there is “unlikely to be another drubbing”. We’ve already seen plenty of shocks in this tournament and Croatia “have the know-how in these kinds of situations”. This one could “possibly go the distance”.

Alongside their “run of narrow wins”, Croatia’s defensive record is “one of the best” in Qatar, said Feargal Brennan on Football Italia. They will “not make it easy” for Brazil. As the pressure of knockout football increases, this tie “may not have the carnival atmosphere” of Brazil’s last-16 victory over South Korea. But Tite’s charges “should have enough” to book their slot in the last four.

The stadium

This is the last of eight World Cup matches to be played at the Education City Stadium, which is located 4.3 miles west of Doha in Al Rayyan. The stadium, which has a capacity of 40,000, previously hosted six group-stage games and the round of 16 tie between Morocco and Spain.



  • Head coach: Zlatko Dalić
  • Key player: Luka Modric
  • One to watch: Josko Gvardiol
  • Goalkeepers: Domink Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivusic (NK Osijek), Ivo Grbic (Atletico Madrid)
  • Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St Petersburg), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Josip Juranovic (Celtic), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (VfB Stuttgart), Josip Stanisic (Bayern Munich), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Josip Sutalo (Dinamo Zagreb)
  • Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino, on loan from West Ham), Lovro Majer (Rennes), Kristijan Jakic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Luka Sucic (RB Salzburg)
  • Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Tottenham), Andrej Kramaric (1899 Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hajduk Split)


  • Head coach: Tite
  • Key player: Neymar
  • One to watch: Vinicius Junior
  • Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras)
  • Defenders: Dani Alves (Pumas UNAM), Danilo (Juventus), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
  • Midfielders: Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Casemiro (Manchester United), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham)
  • Forwards: Antony (Manchester United), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedro (Flamengo), Raphinha (Barcelona), Richarlison (Tottenham), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
  • Injured: Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Alex Telles (Sevilla)

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.