Two empty seats on the exclusive World Cup train

Two empty seats on the exclusive World Cup train
Fecha de publicación: 
6 December 2022
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Doha, December 6 (PL) - Spain, Morocco, Portugal and Switzerland will try to occupy today the last two spaces available in the fixture of the quarterfinals of Qatar 2022, an event that generates joy among the survivors and anguish for the eliminated.

The duels between "La Roja" and the "Lions of Atlas" and the Portuguese team against the Swiss will define which teams will join the other six, which are now easing the stress and polishing the details with their eyes set on competing at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.

After finishing second in Group E, Luis Enrique and his team will face a Moroccan squad, leaders of Group F, who are ready to challenge history against the winners of South Africa 2010.

Spain's record in the round of 16 is four wins and three defeats. All seven matches were against European opponents, and the most recent ended in a penalty shootout defeat against hosts Russia in 2018.

Morocco, meanwhile, is unbeaten in its last four Cup matches (two wins and a pair of draws). This equaled their best streak, achieved in the 1970 and 1986 competitions, with a gap of a decade and a half without qualifying.

The match will take place at the Education City Stadium, starting at 18:00 local time, and will feature midfielder Sergio Busquets, who will be making his 17th World Cup appearance and will equal record-holders Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.

At the aforementioned Lusail Park, starting at 22:00, Portugal, winners of section H, and Switzerland, number two in section G, will be playing their twenty-fifth UEFA Nations League fixture this year, with an even balance for both teams.

The Lusitanians won 4-0 in Lisbon on June 5, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice, while the Swiss took revenge with a 1-0 win just a week later in Geneva.

CR7 himself, a former star of clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, needs a goal to equal the record of Eusebio (nine), the country's top scorer in this type of competition.

Fernando Santos' team will be in its fourth round of 16 challenge, with a balance of one victory and two failures: it defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in Germany 2006, but lost to Spain (1-0) and Uruguay (1-2) in South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018, in that order.

Switzerland, three-time FIFA World Cup quarterfinalists, are aiming to reach the quarterfinal stage for the first time since 1954. Xherdan Shaqiri, their key man on the pitch, has five goals, one less than Sepp Hügi (six), who leads the nation's all-time scoring charts.

The Netherlands-Argentina, England-France and Brazil-Croatia have already booked their places in the semi-finals. The Qatar 2022 title match will take place on Sunday, December 18.

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