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LIVE BLOG: World Cup, Day 20: It’s David versus Goliath as Croatia take on Brazil

Welcome to day 20 of the World Cup in Qatar. IOL Sport will bring you all the live updates from the biggest sports event on the planet!

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In Friday’s quarter-final fixtures, first up it’s Croatia taking on the mighty Brazil and then it’s the turn of the heavyweight clash between the Netherlands and Argentina.

5pm: Croatia v Brazil

Brazil is the best team in the history of the competition, having won it five times and finishing second, third and fourth twice each. This time they are playing as the world’s No 1 ranked team and they have looked the part, except when they took things easy against Cameroon in their final group phase game.

Croatia will be relying heavily on their talisman Luka Modric, who lifted the Best Fifa Men’s Player award in 2018. He knows what to expect from the classy Brazilian line-up and he’ll want to boss the midfield as it gives Croatia a chance to keep the opposition at bay.

Brazil are overwhelming favourites but in Croatia, they are likely to face their toughest opponent yet. Croatia are the 2018 runners-up.

Key Players

Croatia: Luka Modric (central midfielder), Marcelo Brozovic (central midfielder), Ivan Perisic (winger/wingback)

Brazil: Neymar (forward), Thiago Silva (centre-back), Marquinhos (defender)

Head To Head:

Croatia and Brazil have played each other four times. Brazil won three of those matches and the other was a draw. Two of the matches have taken place at the World Cup.

9pm: Netherlands v Argentina

The World Cup is the one major trophy Argentina’s Messi has never had his hands on. Eight years after coming up just short in Brazil 2014, the legendary Messi will now go in search of the biggest title of them all. Expect Messi to put his best foot forward.

Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side has been nearly flawless so far and now has a chance to make amends for missing out on qualifying for the 2018 edition. In their last match, the Netherlands had an easy 3-1 win against the USA.

Given Messi’s push for glory, Argentina will start as favourites in this mouth-watering tie. The effervescent Dutch wing-backs will be a factor and if Argentina do not contain that threat, it could prove their downfall.

Key Players:

Netherlands: Virgil van Dijk (centre-back), Denzel Dumfries (right-wingback), Frenkie de Jong (midfielder)

Argentina: Lionel Messi (forward), Emiliano Martinez (goalkeeper), Cristian Romero (defender)

Head To Head:

The Netherlands has an edge against Argentina in the overall records, with four wins and two draws in nine games. The first-ever encounter between the two sides was an international friendly in 1974 when a Johan Cruyff-led Dutch side comprehensively beat Argentina 4-1.

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