World Cup Watch: And Then There Were Eight: As the knockout round started, the traditional powers put the hammer down – Sports

Chaos marked the group stage of this World Cup, where the 16th round match was different, with entries from it. five continents and an unprecedented six of the 16 coming from outside the continental powerhouses of Europe and South America. But once the kicking started, traditional power put the hammer down, as game after game saw the favorites dominate in fashion or not, starting on Saturday morning in the Netherlands and -make the American story come to an end. So it followed – France, England, Argentina, Brazil – big players before their competition forced their attention at the beginning.

That was the story until Tuesday anyway, when it was Morocco who put their minds to good will Spain, patiently collecting their competent pass plays without giving up any tough opportunities. Spain had 77% of the possession, but only two shots on goal in 120 pointless minutes of regulation and overtime, and then they were fried, closing in on the ball. the body. Thus the Atlas Lions became the first Arab team to make the quarter-finals, in this first Arab World Cup. They are in some brilliant company, as we are treated to a class from France Kylian Mbappéthen Brazil and Neymar and Richardsonthen Portugal has six goals without Cristiano Ronaldo, who got a seat and saw his replacement score the first hat-trick of the tournament. In addition, there is England, who seem to be working in the promotion of the excellent Senegalese team. England-France is the marquee tournament of the next round – Friday-Saturday – as we look at the final four stars.

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End of the road for the US

What is sad and unusual about the US loss to the Netherlands is that all three Dutch goals came from individual mental errors from the best three of the US players. Tyler Adams Memphis Depay missed the Dutch opening goal, Sergiño Dest Danny Blind lost in the second, and Anthony Robinson part of it is not covered in the latter. Three periods of off, and the Dutch made them pay, in short. There was a painful suddenness in each of the goals, and in the final, that pretty much belied the fact that we were actually beating the Netherlands for a lot of games – like we were winning. England back in the league. That doesn’t count for much now, but this is a young team: the starting six, plus the first three subs, are all under the age of 25. So they should be fine with their core inside. four years, when the World Cup is held and US, Mexicoand Canada. I can’t wait.

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Others and visitors

Hospitality is almost a thing in the Arab culture, but it seems a little less, perhaps. Criticism of Qatar seems to have stopped as the ball heated up, but there has been a backlash of Arab observers complaining about the lack of respect for their culture, noting the human rights progress they have made and that – called the hypocrisy of the West, considering our own. Opposition to rights at home and abroad, and the legacy of colonialism. That’s me-tooism, but it’s also true. Maybe we can agree that we can all do better?

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