Croatia vs Brazil: Match preview, predicted line-ups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch

Brazil look to book their place in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals when they take on an experienced Croatia side on Friday afternoon.

By Robert Cottingham Published: 8 December 2022 - 11.39am
Luka Modric and Neymar

When and where to watch Croatia vs Brazil?

Croatia vs Brazil kicks off at 3pm on Friday 9 December.

You can watch all the action from Education City Stadium on BBC1 via BT TV.

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Croatia vs Brazil match preview

All eyes turn to the Education City Stadium for the first of four World Cup quarter-finals on Friday as Croatia meet Brazil for a place in the final four.

Brazil advanced to the last eight with a characteristically Brazilian display of attacking flair as they breezed past a hapless South Korea side 4-1 on Monday evening.

Vinicius Jr, Neymar's penalty, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all netted in a first-half onslaught as Tite's men produced the performance of the tournament so far to secure a spot in the quarters.

Richarlison's goal in particular, which saw centre-backs Thiago Silva and Marquinhos exchanging one-touch passes before releasing the forward to finish, was a thing of beauty and it's hard to imagine many defences being able to keep Brazil out should they continue to play in that manner.

They eased off somewhat in the second half and allowed the South Koreans a goal back but it might well be a decision that stands them in good stead come Friday's game - not least for Neymar who had just returned from an ankle injury.

The same cannot be said for Croatia who did it the hard way against Japan in their last 16 tie - just as they did in every knockout round on the way to the 2018 final.

Croatia fell behind but levelled through the tireless Ivan Perisic and forced extra-time. After an uneventful additional half hour, the game went to penalties and Dominik Livakovic was on hand to keep out some woeful Japanese penalties before Mario Pasalic struck the winning spot-kick.

It remains to be seen what state they arrive in at the Education City Stadium but they'll need to be on top form to stop a dangerous Brazilian attack.

The good news is the outstanding form of Josko Gvardiol, who at 20 years old looks to be the next great centre back in European football. The RB Leipzip man will have his work cut out to stop the likes of Neymar, Richarlison and Vinicius Jr.

Croatia vs Brazil predicted line-ups

Croatia: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic

Brazil: Alisson; Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison

Richarlison scored a brilliant goal in the last 16.

Croatia vs Brazil: Injuries and suspensions

Croatia's Borna Sosa and Josip Stanisic are in line to return to the XI after missing the clash with Japan due to illness and muscle injury respectively.

Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic are all expected to feature yet again as the long-serving Croatian midfield trio but Modric and Kovacic are one booking away from a semi-final suspension.

Marko Livaja will be hoping to displace Bruno Petkovic as the central striker having featured mostly as a substitute for Zlatko Dalic's side this World Cup.

Brazil remain without Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles who are injured for the remainder of the tournament and full back Alex Sandro is nursing a hip problem so could be a doubt Danilo, who deputised for Sandro against South Korea, could keep his place.

Neymar returned from an ankle injury to feature against South Korea and will likely feature once again alongside Vinicius Jr and Richarlison.

World Cup Form

Croatia: DWDD

Brazil: WWLW

Croatia vs Brazil: Form guide

Brazil are on fire following a devastating victory over South Korea in the quarter-finals but it's not all been plain-sailing for the South Americans this tournament.

They eased past Serbia in the opening match before relying on a late winner to dispatch Switzerland but a reserve XI fell to Cameroon in the final group game.

The 4-1 dismantling of South Korea on Monday was the first time Tite's side have truly clicked into gear as they announced themselves as contenders.

Croatia have had anything but a smooth ride to the quarters. Dalic's men were held 0-0 by Morocco, thrashed Canada 4-1 and drew 0-0 with Belgium to advance by the skin of their teeth as Group F runners-up.

Their last-16 tie with Japan went to penalties after a nervy 1-1 draw in which they conceded first and they were indebted to some disastrous spot-kicks from the opposition to advance to the last eight.

2022 FIFA
Josko Gvardiol has been brilliant in Qatar.

What are they saying?

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on the Brazil squad

“Brazil has (over) 200 million people, we only have four million, so we’re a bit like the suburb of a city in Brazil.

“It will be a different game than against anyone we have played so far because Brazil likes to play football.

“If we are looking at it realistically, Brazil is the best team at the tournament, they have a great choice of players, a great squad, it’s scary, so it’s a great test for us.”

Brazil forward Vinicius Jr on the impact Tite and his Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti have had on his career:

"I talked with Ancelotti and he gave me a lot of advice to help me become a starter with Brazil. He gave me a lot of confidence. He was always tough with me when he needed to be. He is like a father to me.

"He is good not only with the technical aspects of the game, but also with how he deals with his players."

Luka Modric is still the main man for Croatia.

Croatia vs Brazil: Players to watch

At 37 years of age, Luka Modric is still the main man in Croatia's midfield and will be crucial to their chances of springing an upset.

The Real Madrid star, set to earn his 160th cap for his country, will play a pivotal role alongside Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic in the middle of the park.

A nod too, to Josko Gvardiol. The young centre-back has been outstanding for Croatia in Qatar and will now test himself against some of the very best.

Brazil are full of dangermen but the man in form is Tottenham striker Richarlison who has three goals in three matches so far. Richarlison, Vinicius Jr and Neymar will be the men tasked with firing Tite's side into the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup.