The World Cup: Round of 16 recap


Farzad Mohsenvand

The World Cup teams each have a flag posted on the wall.

Raj Kirtikar, Staff Writer

The 2022 Qatar World Cup Round of 16 (RO16) officially finished on Tuesday, December 6. Let’s look at each of the eight matches and how they went.


Netherlands vs. USA:
The Netherlands had a comfortable 3-1 win over the USA in the first match of the RO16. Despite dominating possession and having more shots and shots on target, the USA couldn’t get away with a win. FC Barcelona striker Memphis Depay netted a goal in the 10th minute and Ajax midfielder Daley Blind followed by scoring a goal just before the end of the first half. The USA was able to follow up and Haji Wright scored in the 71st minute making it 2-1. However, the Dutch responded pretty quickly, and Denzel Dumfries scored a volley in the 81st minute. Dumfries had an excellent game tallying one goal and two assists. The States’ defense looked extremely poor as they let in three very similar goals. They hope to do much better in their own home at the 2026 USA World Cup. 

Argentina vs. Australia:

Argentina looked solid in their 2-1 victory over Australia as they dominated possession 61% to 39% and had a passing accuracy of 87%. In the 35th minute, Lionel Messi scored a phenomenal goal with a brilliant series of passes between Messi, Alexis Mac Allister, and Nicolas Otamendi which led to a great finish going in between the legs of the defender and into the bottom left corner. It was an extra special goal as it was Messi’s 1000th career match. In the 57th minute, Australian goalkeeper Matt Ryan made an awful mistake and striker Julian Alvarez was easily able to steal the ball from him and slotted the ball into the left corner. In the 77th minute, Craig Goodwin had a long-range shot outside of the box and took a massive deflection, leading to an unfortunate own goal from Argentinian midfielder Enzo Fernandez. In the end, Australia was knocked out, and Argentina will go on to play the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Japan vs. Croatia:

In the third match of the RO16, the Samurai Blue, Japan, was knocked out by Croatia after an awful set of penalties. Celtic striker Daizen Maeda scored the first goal in the 43rd minute after a great cross into the box from Ritsu Doan and a one-touch pass from captain Maya Yoshida which led to a solid finish from Maeda. However, Croatia responded and Tottenham winger Ivan Perisic scored a powerful header after a great ball was put into the box from Dejan Lovren. The game remained tied 1-1 for the rest of the match and went to overtime. The game was still tied after the 30 extra minutes, and as a result the game went to penalties. Japan performed terribly in the penalty shootout, only scoring 1 penalty. Croatia was able to get the better of them and netted 3 penalties, and as a result the Samurai Blue were sadly knocked out. Japan performed excellently in their World Cup campaign, and they will be remembered as one of the most passionate and determined teams. Croatia takes on the mighty Brazil in the quarterfinals.

Brazil vs. South Korea:

Brazil played terrific in their 4-1 thrashing over South Korea, and once again proved to the world why they are ranked number one in the world. Their chemistry at the moment seems unmatched and seems very difficult to stop them. Brazil scored all of their goals in the first half and played decent in the second half. Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. scored a great goal in the 7th minute, putting the ball in the top right corner. Star player Neymar Jr netted a penalty in the 13th minute, after a foul on Tottenham winger Richarlison. In the 29th minute, Richarlison scored his third goal of the tournament displaying amazing skill, bouncing the ball on his head before flicking the ball and passing it to Marquinhos, who played it to the 38-year-old center-back Thiago Silva. Silva then played the ball one-touch to Richarlison, who clinically finished it into the bottom corner. Brazil scored their last goal in the 36th minute with Vinicius Jr. chipping the ball to Lucas Paqueta, who volleyed it perfectly into the back of the net. In the 76th minute, South Korea finally got one back and Paik Seung-ho scored a phenomenal half-volley, which sailed past goalkeeper Allison Becker. Brazil will take on Croatia in the quarter-finals.

France vs. Poland:

France was able to comfortably beat Poland in a 3-1 win. AC Milan striker Oliver Giroud scored in the 44th minute and became France’s top scorer, going past the legendary Thierry Henry. Giroud is truly one of the most underrated strikers of our generation, aging like fine wine at 36 years old. Kylian Mbappe once again played world-class and scored a wonderful strike into the top left corner in the 74th minute, and scored another stunner into the top right corner in the 90th minute. This puts him at 5 goals this World Cup campaign and puts him at 9 total World Cup goals. This is higher than Cristiano Ronaldo and equal with Lionel Messi, at just 23 years old. Poland captain, and one of the best strikers in the world, Robert Lewandowski scored a late penalty in the 9th minute of additional time and the match finished 3-1. France will play England in which should be a thrilling quarter-final match.

England vs. Senegal:

England was easily able to go past Senegal and beat them 3-0 as they dominated possession 62% to 38%. Senegal missed an early chance to score in the 22nd minute after Ismaïla Sarr hit it well over the bar. In the 38th minute, 19-year-old Jude Bellingham made an excellent run down the left flank and cut the ball back to Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, who easily tapped it into the back of the net. England captain Harry Kane scored a stunning strike just before the end of the first half to score his first goal of the campaign. In the 57th minute,        22-year-old Phil Foden picked up the ball on the left flank and played an accurate low cross to the 21-year-old Bukayo Saka, who slotted it past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and into the back of the net. Saka now has three goals in three matches and has been playing wonderfully this campaign. England will play France in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Morocco vs. Spain:

Morocco was surprisingly able to go past Spain as the neighbors battled in a penalty shootout. The match ended 0-0 and went to extra time, both sides were unable to score in the additional time and thus the game went to penalties. Spain had an abysmal set of penalties and missed all three of the penalties they took. On the other hand, Morocco only missed one penalty and PSG wing-back Achraf Hakimi sealed the deal after a cold panenka (chipping a penalty) to win the shootout 3-0. Morocco takes on Portugal in the quarter-finals, which will be a very difficult game for the Moroccans.

Portugal vs. Switzerland:

Portugal absolutely demolished Switzerland 6-1 and captain Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t even start the match. Ronaldo’s replacement, 21-year-old Gonçalo Ramos, scored an amazing hat trick and proved to the world that Portugal does not need Ronaldo to play well. 39-year-old Pepe scored a phenomenal header and overtook Ronaldo as the second-oldest goalscorer in the World Cup. In the 55th minute, Raphael Guerreiro scored a great left-foot strike that went sailing into the top of the goal. Man City defender Manuel Akanji was able to get one back for Switzerland and tapped the ball into the goal in the 58th minute. In the third minute of additional time, AC Milan youngster Rafael Leão got the last goal for Portugal and scored an astonishing goal that went into the right corner. Portugal will play Morocco in the quarter-finals and will hope to win that game to go on to the semis.


That’s it for the round of 16. Make sure to stay tuned for a review of the quarter-finals coming soon!