It’s time for day four of the 2022 World Cup, and we have some big-hitters ready to take to the international stage today.
We kick off with 2018 runners-up Croatia facing Morocco as Zlatko Dalic’s golden generation go in search of tournament glory one last time.
Later on, Germany take on Japan looking to make amends after a disappointing couple of international tournaments, while Spain go toe-to-toe with Costa Rica.
Wednesday’s action wraps up with Canada, making their first World Cup appearance since 1986, facing off against Belgium.
The only way for Croatia to better their last World Cup appearance will be to win the whole thing, and that quest starts against Morocco at 10am (GMT).
The Atlas Lions aren’t many people’s to get out of the group, but a fast start against the tournament’s most recent runners-up could put the world on notice.
Croatia’s key players remain their wily veteran core featuring the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic. Morocco, meanwhile, have opted to recall Hakim Ziyech into the national setup.
Germany begin their search for a joint-record fifth world title with a showdown against Japan at 1pm.
Hansi Flick becomes the first man not named Joachim Low to lead Die Nationalelf at a major tournament since Jurgen Klinsmann at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.
His first task is to navigate a Japan outfit which have been tipped as dark horses should either Germany or Spain flatter to deceive in Group E.
Luis Enrique’s Spain square off against Costa Rica in Wednesday’s third match.
Los Ticos have actually been to a World Cup quarter-final more recently than La Roja, but know very well this is a match in which they will see little of the ball.
Spain will take some heart in knowing they were a penalty shootout away from reaching last summer’s Euro 2020 final and they head to Qatar with a slightly stronger squad.
A veteran Belgium side play relative newcomers in Canada to round off Wednesday’s action.
Roberto Martinez’s men still boast some old favourites who bring plenty of experience, and are expected to make life difficult for John Herdman’s charges in Les Rouges’ first World Cup in 36 years.
USMNT players apologize for World Cup elimination
US men’s national team players took to social media to apologize to fans following their elimination from the 2022 World Cup.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the tournament, the American side entered Qatar with high hopes. The team kicked off with draws against England and Wales, before triumphing 1-0 over Iran to make the knockout round as second place of Group B.
Gregg Berhalter’s side was forced to face the Netherlands on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium for the highly anticipated match up. Despite an energetic start to the game, the USMNT ultimately lost 3-1, with goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries proving to be the difference between the two sides.
The Americans will now look forward to the 2026 World Cup where they will serve as hosts alongside Mexico and Canada.
France vs Poland: Confirmed lineups
In Sunday’s last-16 matchup at the Al-Thumama Stadium, Poland and France, the current champions, prepare for battle after both teams lost in their World Cup 2022 group stage campaigns.
Les Bleus completed first in Gathering D to endure to the knockout rounds, while Czeslaw Michniewicz’s men set up a bind with the holders subsequent to putting second in Gathering C.
Which World Cup team is the best at penalty shootouts?
Penalty shootouts and World Cups go hand in hand. Most sides practice their spot kicks for years on end in the build-up to the global tournament, but preparation can go out the window when crunch time comes.
While not certain – Spain and France have won the World Cup in recent memory without being involved in a shootout – the likelihood of teams needing to win at spot kicks to reach the final is large enough.
Here are the sides with the best penalty shootout records at men’s World Cups.
Argentina and Germany have the best records in penalty shootouts at the World Cup with four victories apiece.
Argentina have competed in the most WC shootouts – five in total – and have only lost one, back in the 2006 quarter finals when they were defeated 4-2 by Germany after misses from Daniel Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso. Germany themselves have a 100% record, winning all four of their shootouts.
While outfield players like Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus, Jose Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga and Maxi Rodriguez proved themselves to be excellent penalty takers with two scored each across different tournaments, both sides also needed brilliant goalkeepers.
Sergio Goycochea became an icon for Argentina in 1990, saving penalties in quarter-final and semi-final penalty shootout victories against Yugoslavia and Italy respectively. German legend Harald Schumacher was also on hand for his nation to save two penalty strikes in shootouts against France in 1982 and Mexico in 1986.
Best player scoring records in World Cup penalty shootouts
Taking a penalty at the World Cup is known to be a proper test of a player’s minerals. Some have wilted under the pressure, but a number of stars have stepped up and scored in different shootouts when it mattered.
Modern stars like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Arjen Robben are among those to have netted in separate penalty shootouts at the same World Cup.
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