• Giants set for quarterfinals showdown
The 2022 World Cup has brought the traditional share of strong emotions and footage of supporters from different nationalities coming together to celebrate unprecedented feats at the biggest football tournament, reports africanews.com.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino praised the group and historic knockout phase, saying: “Put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a World Cup, ever. So, it’s very promising for the remainder of the World Cup. But the matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums – we knew that already – however, as well, the public who was there was incredible.”
Infantino said, “over 51,000 on average. Record-breaking figures on TV – we already had over two billion viewers, which is really incredible. The level is very, very equal.
“For the first time as well, national teams from all continents going to the knock-out phase for the first time in history. This shows that football is really becoming truly global.”
Festivals in Qatar have gathered fans from all over the world and the different fan zones were also very crowded.
Speaking in Qatar, yesterday, Infantino hailed the World Cup group stage in Qatar as the ‘best ever.’
The opening phase featured some eye-catching shocks, with Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina the first major upset.
Japan also beat Germany and Spain to finish top of their group, while Morocco saw off Belgium and drew with Croatia to finish top of their pool.
“I have seen all the matches, indeed, and put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever. So, it’s very promising for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup,” said Infantino.
“The matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums — we knew that already. However, as well, the public who was there was incredible. Over 51,000 on average.”
Brazil, who face beaten 2018 finalists Croatia in the first of the quarter-finals on Friday, remain favourites to lift a sixth World Cup in Qatar after their 4-1 mauling of South Korea.
Argentina, who have hit their stride since their shock defeat against Saudi Arabia, will come up against an in-form Netherlands team, who remain unbeaten.
On Saturday, Morocco take on Portugal before focus shifts to the late kick-off between England and France.
England midfielder Declan Rice missed training yesterday due to an unspecified illness.