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World Cup quarter-final predictions

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The Netherlands, Argentina, Croatia, Brazil, Morocco, Portugal, England and France. Those are the eight countries left standing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, each dreaming of winning the biggest prize in men’s international football.

The round of 16 saw Spain eliminated by Morocco on penalties – a result that cost Luis Enrique his job as national team manager – but there was otherwise no real surprises as the game’s biggest players came to the fore.

Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were all on the scoresheet, with their eyes now firmly fixed on securing a place in the final four of what’s been an entertaining tournament so far.

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Here’s 90min’s predictions of what’s to come.

Brazil lit up the World Cup against South Korea

Brazil lit up the World Cup against South Korea / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Croatia’s World Cup campaign has been one of steady but unspectacular progress, evidenced by their scrappy penalty shootout with Japan in the round of 16.

In stark contrast, Brazil were at their brilliant best against South Korea, effectively ending the game as a contest after 12 minutes en route to scoring four first-half goals.

In Richarlison, Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Raphinha, the Selecao have an extremely exciting front four capable of destroying any defence, and they look like a well oiled machine ready to push for a sixth World Cup triumph.

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Prediction: Croatia 0-2 Brazil

The Netherlands meet last year’s Copa America winners Argentina in Friday’s second World Cup quarter-final.

Louis van Gaal’s Oranje haven’t been at their brilliant best, truth be told, but they’ve had more than enough quality in the tank to ease through a group containing Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar, before seeing off a plucky United States in the round of 16.

Cody Gakpo has been their standout player so far, though Memphis Depay appears to be coming into form at just the right time.

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Argentina got their World Cup campaign underway with a defeat to the second-lowest ranked nation at the tournament, Saudi Arabia, but business has picked up since. Mexico and Poland were suitably dispatched, before Australia were seen off in the round of 16.

In a tight affair, Lionel Scaloni’s side may just have the edge with some guy called Messi the star act.

Prediction: Netherlands 0-1 Argentina

Who needs Cristiano Ronaldo when you have Goncalo Ramos?

Who needs Cristiano Ronaldo when you have Goncalo Ramos? / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/GettyImages

Surprise quarter-finalists Morocco will hope to build on their sensational penalty shootout win over Spain when they take on Portugal in Saturday’s afternoon kick-off.

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The Atlas Lions have conceded just once in their four games so far, with their defensive resilience in the round of 16 proving too much for a Spain side who dominated the ball from start to finish.

Portugal discarded Cristiano Ronaldo for their round of 16 blitz over Switzerland, but they didn’t miss him one iota as Goncalo Ramos bagged a hat-trick in a comprehensive 6-1 win.

Fernando Santos’ team is filled with quality and confidence will be riding high after their Swiss demolition job.

Prediction: Morocco 1-2 Portugal

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The quarter-finals round off with a huge clash between England and France; two teams blessed with outrageously talented young players.

The Three Lions were methodical and precise in the early stages of their round of 16 win over Senegal, but accelerated through the gears after breaking the deadlock to chalk up a comfortable 3-0 win.

Didier Deschamps’ France breezed past Poland, meanwhile, with Kylian Mbappe, the top scorer at this World Cup with five goals, showing the world his immense quality with two outstanding late goals.

It could be a tight, cagey affair as Gareth Southgate and Didier Deschamps set their sides up to contain, but it could be Les Bleus who come out victorious and extend England’s major tournament heartbreak beyond 56 years.

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Prediction: England 0-1 France



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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