• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

2022 World Cup knockout stage recap

ByEvan McNelia

Dec 16, 2022
Morocco celebrates a victory

Photo courtesy of Tom Weller | Getty Images

Round of 16:


The Netherlands beat the USA 3-1 in the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 26-year-old midfielder Denzel Dumfries played the hero, scoring the game-icing third goal and assisting on the match’s first two goals. 

The Netherlands scored its first two goals by taking advantage of the backside of the American defense on crosses. 

Dumfries found 28-year-old forward Memphis Depay for the first goal of the match. Depay fired the ball into the left side of the net behind the USA defense. The second goal was nearly along the same line as the first, this time off the foot of 32-year-old midfielder Daley Blind. The second goal was also off of a cross by Dumfries from the right side to an uncovered man on the left.

The USA had many chances throughout the match and controlled a lot of the pace with over 60% of total possession. It scored its one goal in the 76th minute off of a cross into the box by 24-year-old forward Christian Pulisic. Forward Haji Wright made contact with the ball in an awkward exchange in front of the goal and was credited with the goal as the ball popped up into the air and in through the Netherlands defense. 

The Netherlands won Group A unbeaten, edging out Senegal by one point as Ecuador and host nation Qatar were eliminated. The Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0, drew Ecuador 1-1 and beat Qatar 2-0 to earn seven points in the group stage. The Netherlands has made the Round of 16 in each of its seven World Cup appearances since 1990. Its quarter-final match was its fifth in the same span. 

The USA lost in the Round of 16 for the third time since 1990, it’s also the farthest that it has made it in the tournament since the inaugural 1930 World Cup. The US advanced to the Round of 16 out of Group B after beating Iran 1-0. America drew against England and Wales in its first two Group Stage matches.

It was not a bad performance for the youngest team at this year’s tournament and America’s supposed “Golden Generation” going into the 2026 North American World Cup.


Argentina vs Australia

Argentina beat Australia 2-1 in Round 16, advancing to the quarter-final for the 10th time in World Cup history. The last time Australia made it out of the group stage was in Germany 2006, this was the Socceroo’s second time ever playing in the Round of 16.

Messi scored the opening goal in the 35th minute with a roller through the Socceroo defense, his third of the 2022 World Cup. 22-year-old forward Julian Alvarez added to Argentina’s lead in the second half, taking advantage of a mishap by the Australian goalkeeper and sending another roller into the goal, this time with no defenders in front.

Early in the 77th minute, a rocket shot from Australia deflected off the head of Argentinian center midfielder Enzo Fernandez so hard that the ball flew into the right side of the goal from across the box for an own goal, giving Australia a chance at a comeback late. 

Australia generated some good opportunities late but was unable to overcome the early 2-0 deficit.


France vs Poland

Defending champions France beat Poland 3-1 with a world-class performance from Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe assisted on the match’s first goal and scored the second two, ending Poland’s 2022 World Cup run.

The first half was contentious with each side generating good opportunities while both defenses stood strong making some heroic saves. It wasn’t until the 44th minute that 36-year-old French striker Olivier Giroud broke the tie while simultaneously becoming France’s all-time leading scorer with his 52nd career international goal.

Late in the 74th minute, Mbappe was left wide-open on a run toward the Polish box and off of a cross, took his time to set up his shot, and fired the ball over the lunging Polish goalkeeper. He scored again in the 91st minute off another heater to ice the game, it was his fourth goal of the tournament. 

Poland’s all-time leading goal scorer, 34-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski, scored the lone goal of the match for Poland on a penalty kick late in extra time of the second half. It was the 78th goal of his international career in his final World Cup and possible final international match.


England vs Senegal

England routed Senegal 3-0 in the Round of 16, advancing through the first knockout round for its second straight World Cup and appearing in its ninth-ever quarter-final. 

Entering the 39th minute, 32-year-old midfielder Jordan Henderson received a pass in the box directly in front of the goal from 19-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham. Henderson rolled the ball into the open right side of the net for his first goal of the World Cup, giving England a first-half lead.

England extended its first-half lead on the final play of extra time as Harry Kane got a one-on-one opportunity against the keeper with a defender closing from behind. The keeper had a bad reaction to the shot off of Kane’s foot and England took a 2-0 lead into the half.

21-year-old winger Bukayo Saka scored the third goal of the match in the 57th minute, icing the match for England. 


Japan vs Croatia

2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia overcame a first-half deficit to beat Japan 3-1 in penalties. The Round of 16 remains the furthest that Japan has made it in the World Cup as it has been eliminated four times in its history in the opening knockout round.

Japan’s 25-year-old forward Daizen Maeda was the first in the match to score. A cross into the box In the 43rd minute got lost in the mix of bodies near the goal and Maeda was able to finish the strike to put Japan up 1-0.

In the 55th minute, Croatia scored on a cross almost identical in terms of location and trajectory to the one that Japan scored off of in the first half on the same side of the field. However, 33-year-old winger Ivan Perisic launched a header off of the cross into the right side of the goal to tie the match at one. The remainder of regulation and the two periods of overtime were a battle of the two keepers going save for save.

In PKs 27-year-old Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved the first attempt by Japan by diving on a roller to his left. He saved the second attempt having to fully extend to his right deflecting another rolling shot out near the goalpost.  

Croatia made its first two attempts giving itself the early advantage. Japan made the third shot but another save on its fourth attempt left it needing to make a save on Croatia’s fourth shot. 27-year-old midfielder Mario Pasalic buried the PK in the left side of the net to advance Croatia to the quarter-final.


Brazil vs South Korea

Brazil ran off with a 4-1 win against South Korea, advancing to its eighth straight World Cup quarter-final. Brazil rattled off four unanswered goals in the first half and never looked back.

22-year-old winger Vinicius Junior started the scoring in the seventh minute and Brazil was all gas for the remainder of the first half. Brazil earned a PK in the 13th minute and Neymar buried it for his first goal of this year’s World Cup.

25-year-old forward Richarlison scored the third goal of the match in the 29th minute and 25-year-old attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta scored the fourth seven minutes later.

Paik Seung-ho scored the lone South Korea goal in the 76th minute, banging a shot from approximately 15 yards outside of the box and the match ended 4-1.


Morocco vs Spain

Morocco-Spain was a defensive battle that went into PKs scoreless after 120 minutes. Morocco pulled off the incredible upset, winning 3-0 in PKs.

Spain choked, missing its three first chances in penalties and Morocco took advantage making three of its first four. 24-year-old right-back Achraf Hakimi sent Morocco’s fourth shot right up the middle and the Spain keeper dived to his right, vacating the space, and Morocco advanced through to the quarter-final for its first time in World Cup history. 

It’s Spain’s third straight World Cup eliminated by the end of the Round of 16 since it won at South Africa in 2010.


Portugal vs Switzerland

Portugal served Switzerland the most lopsided loss in this year’s Round of 16, 6-1.

21-year-old forward Goncalo Ramos recorded a hat trick, scoring the first goal of the match in the 17th minute, and adding on two in the second half. 

39-year-old center-back Pepe added to Portugal’s lead in the 33rd minute, heading a corner kick cross into the backside of the goal. It was his eighth career international goal in over 130 appearances.

Left-back Raphael Guerreiro scored Portugal’s fourth goal of the match in the 55th minute with a shot ascending toward the top of the net in the back of the goal. Portugal’s final goal came in the 92nd minute from 23-year-old forward Rafael Leao.

Switzerland’s only goal came by way of defender Manuel Akanji as it saw its third straight World Cup Round of 16 exit. 

The win sent Portugal to its third-ever quarter-final and its first since Germany 2006.





Croatia beat Brazil 4-2 in PKs after a tough defensive battle through regulation and trading goals with Brazil in extra time to bring up the 1-1 shootout.

Livakovic showed up big for Croatia in regulation making many stops to hold off a tough Brazil onslaught. It wasn’t until the 106th minute in added time at the end of the first extra time period, when Neymar broke the tie for Brazil on a solo run through the Croatian defense to beat the keeper.

Early in the 117th minute, 29-year-old forward Mislav Orsic rolled a pass to the middle of the box, setting up his Dinamo Zagreb teammate Bruno Petkovic, who tied the match up with a well-placed ball in the left side of the goal.

Livakovic showed his value in his second straight shootout, stopping Brazil’s opening attempt with a diving effort. Brazil made its next two attempts, but Croatia made each of its first four, which left Brazil needing two straight goals and a save. 

Livakovic dove the opposite way on Brazil’s fourth attempt but the shot just missed, ricocheting off the inside of the left goal post and out, ending Brazil’s 2022 World Cup run. 

Croatia advanced to its second straight semi-final with a shootout win.



Argentina-Netherlands went into PKs as well and with a 4-3 shootout win, Argentina got back to the semi-final for the first time since Brazil 2014 where it finished runner-up to Germany. It was the Netherlands second World Cup appearance in a row seeing a shootout exit against Argentina after suffering the same fate in 2014’s semi-final.

Argentina took the early advantage as Messi found a through pass into the Netherlands box in the 35th minute. 24-year-old midfielder Nahuel Molina took it in and rolled a shot into the Netherlands goal past the keeper. 

Argentina had seemed to ice it in the 73rd minute after Dumfries was called for a foul inside the box, giving Argentina a PK opportunity. Messi fired the attempt in past the keeper who seemed to be frozen in time, taking a 2-0 advantage.

In the 83rd minute, striker Wout Weghorst scored his first of two goals which tied the game for the Netherlands late in the match. The first came off of a long cross as he positioned himself in the box and headed it into the left side of the goal, past the diving keeper.

Things got heated at the end of the 88th minute as an Argentina player fouled a Netherlands player and then fired the ball into the Netherlands bench in frustration. This lead to benches clearing, stopping play as there was a brief altercation. At the end of regulation, 10 extra minutes were awarded.

On the final play of the match In the 101st minute, Netherlands earned a free kick just outside of Argentina’s box. It opted to roll it slowly toward its line of attacking players and Weghorst beat an Argentinian defender to poke the ball in, tying the match in the closing seconds.

Argentina put heavy pressure on the Netherlands throughout extra time but the defense managed to hold strong, sending the game to a shootout. 

The Netherlands attempted first but Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made diving saves on its first two attempts. Messi converted on his first attempt as Argentina hit each of its first three, taking an early 3-1 lead. The Netherlands made its next attempt and Argentina missed on its fourth shot leaving Netherlands needing to make a shot and a stop on the response attempt. They managed to score but so did Argentina, ending the match with a 4-3 penalty win.



Morocco continued its magical run with a 1-0 defeat over Portugal, advancing to its first-ever World Cup semi-final. Its previous best World Cup appearance was when Morocco advanced to the Round of 16 at Mexico 1986. 

In the 42nd minute, 25-year-old striker Youssef En-Nesyri leaped, elevating above Portugal’s defenders and goalkeeper, putting his head on a long beautiful cross and sending it into the Portugese goal. The score was the lone goal of the game.

Ronaldo was subbed into the match off of the bench in the 51st minute but the added offensive firepower was not enough to penetrate the Moroccan defense. The quarter-final remains the farthest that Portugal has been able to run in the World Cup since its fourth-place finish at Germany in 2006.



France beat England 2-1, advancing to its second-straight and seventh-ever semi-final. 

22-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni scored the first goal of the match in the 17th minute, firing a low shot from outside of the box to put France up 1-0.

In the 52nd minute England was awarded a penalty kick after Bukayo Saka was fouled inside of the French box. Harry Kane took the attempt and fired a heater to the right, underneath the diving French goalie, tying the match at one. 

Olivier Giroud scored the winning goal in the 78th minute, heading a perfectly placed cross directly in front of the goal past the English keeper to make the match 2-1.

Kane had another PK opportunity in the 81st minute after a French defender drilled an English attacker who was chasing a long through-pass into the box. However, Kane sailed it high, missing the easy opportunity to tie the match. 

On the final play of the match in the 99th minute, England was awarded a free kick from just outside the box, and elected for Marcus Rashford to take the attempt. He opted for the shot attempt and barely missed, landing the ball directly on top of the goal, ending England’s World Cup run.





Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to advance to its fifth World Cup final. Argentina was runner-up at Brazil 2014 and last won at Mexico 1986. Croatia will play in the runner-up match Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 a.m. MT. 

In the 34th minute Argentina was awarded a penalty kick and Messi converted the attempt for his fifth goal of the 2022 World Cup. Five minutes later, Julian Alvarez took a first touch at midfield all the way into the Croatian box and finished the solo run by pushing the ball into the opposing goal to take a 2-0 first-half lead.

Alvarez scored his second goal of the match in the 69th minute off of a great run in the box and assist by Messi. Alvarez positioned himself in fron of the goal and mess found him on a pass back to his left and Alvarez took advantage of the prime opportunity.

Argentina will play in the World Cup Final on Sunday Dec. 18 at 8 a.m. MT, attempting to claim the ultimate prize in Messi’s final World Cup.



France ended Morocco’s run with a 2-0 win, getting the opportunity to defend its 2018 World Cup title against this year’s challengers, Argentina. It’s France’s fourth Final appearance in the last seven World Cups.

It took France just five minutes to take an upper hand as left-back Theo Hernandez finished off a tough offensive look with a goal after two deflections by the defensive line. 

Morocco held until later in the second half but were unable to finish any offensive chances. 

In the 79th minute, 24-year-old forward Randal Kolo Muani finished off a beautiful Mbappe pass through multiple defenders, burying his shot in the net before the goalie could run over from defending the opposite side, giving France a 2-0 lead. 

Morocco was unable to generate much offense in retaliation and its best World Cup run ended short of the Final, though it will play Croatia in the match for third place on Saturday. 

France will look to make it back-to-back World Cup championships against a surging Argentina squad on Sunday to wrap the 2022 World Cup