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World Cup: Croatia v Brazil quarter-final preview

Brazil remain on course to win the World Cup for a record-extending sixth time, but they are set to face stubborn resistance when facing Croatia in the quarter-finals on Friday.

A Selecao are among the favourites To Win Outright the World Cup at 17/10, but they have a poor recent record when facing European opposition in the knockout stages of the global showpiece, something a battle-hardened Croatia will be hoping to exploit at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Croatia are 8/1 to win inside 90 minutes, while Brazil are 4/11 and the draw at the end of regulation time can be backed at 4/1.

What: Croatia v Brazil
Where: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
When: 15:00, Friday 9th December
How to watch: BBC1
Odds: Croatia 8/1, Draw 4/1, Brazil 4/11

Momentum building for Brazil

Brazil were solid yet unspectacular during the group stage, grinding out victories over Serbia and Switzerland that ensured qualification before a much-changed team lost 1-0 to Cameroon.

There were concerns after that loss to the Indomitable Lions - which ended a 17-match unbeaten run - that Brazil would struggle to rediscover their form during the knockout stages, but they put those doubts to bed with an emphatic 4-1 victory over South Korea in the Round of 16.

Tite's side were 4-0 up after just 36 minutes of that contest with Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all getting on the scoresheet.

Neymar's goal from the penalty spot was his 76th for his country and he is now just one behind Pele's record of 77 international goals, which is the most a Brazilian male has ever scored for A Selecao.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who returned from an ankle injury against South Korea, will be hoping to now equal that record against Croatia - he is 6/5 in the Anytime Scorer market.

Croatia to provide stubborn resistance

Brazil may have eased into the quarter-finals, but they are likely to face a much sterner test of their credentials against a Croatia side that have made it through to the last eight for the second World Cup in a row.

Zlatko Dalic's side needed penalties to overcome Japan in the last 16 following a 1-1 draw in Al Wakrah and they are no strangers to being taken the distance, as seven of their last eight knockout matches at major international tournaments have gone to at least extra time.

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That sequence includes four of Croatia's last five knockout ties at World Cups, the only exception being their 4-2 defeat to France in the 2018 final.

Vatreni certainly won't be afraid to take this contest the full 120 minutes and the Game Decided in Extra Time is priced up at 8/1, while the Game Decided After Penalties is available at 8/1.

The 2018 finalists are yet to taste defeat in Qatar - unlike Brazil - and they are currently on a 10-match unbeaten run, while they have only lost one of their 20 games since exiting Euro 2020.

Croatia are 4/1 To Qualify for the semi-finals, while Brazil are 1/6 to make it through to the final four.

History favours Brazil to a degree

Friday's match will be the third time Croatia and Brazil have locked horns at the World Cup, with A Selecao winning the other two meetings during the group stages in 2006 and 2014.

The latter of those successes was the opening match at the 2014 World Cup - a tournament Brazil were hosting - and a repeat of that 3-1 scoreline on Friday can be backed at 12/1.

It is not just at World Cups where Brazil have got the better of Croatia, as Vatreni have never beaten their illustrious opponents in four previous meetings, suffering three defeats and picking up a solitary draw.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Croatia, as Brazil have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage of three of the last four World Cups, losing to European opposition on each occasion.

It is now over 20 years since the South Americans last beat a European team during the World Cup knockout stages, with that success coming when they got the better of Germany in the 2002 final.

Team news

Croatia have no fresh injury concerns and could welcome left-back Borna Sosa back into the fold after he missed the last-16 clash with Japan due to illness.

There is arguably no better midfield in the competition than Croatia's trio of Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, although the latter two are just one booking away from being suspended for any potential semi-final.

Brazil have already lost Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles to injury in Qatar, while Alex Sandro remains a doubt with a hip problem, which means Danilo is likely to continue at left-back in what could be an unchanged starting XI.

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