One of the highlights of the Brazilian attack, with a goal and two assists, Vinícius Júnior reaches the quarterfinals of the World Cup with 247 minutes added on the field in this edition of the tournament.
In the duel against Croatia, this Friday (9), the person responsible for marking the Real Madrid striker should be right-back Juranovic. He is one of five athletes from the opposing team who have not yet sat on the bench and have played for 425 minutes each.
The comparison illustrates well the advantage of the Brazilian team for this match when it comes to the wear and tear of the athletes.
Considering the 16 most active players on both teams (11 starters plus 5 substitutes), the Croatians have an average of 66 minutes more on the field in the World Cup.
There are 221 on the Brazilians’ chronometer, the lowest average among the eight teams classified for this stage. At the other extreme of this ranking, Croatians register 287.
With the classification guaranteed in advance, coach Tite spared the starters in the 1-0 defeat by Cameroon, for the third and final round of the group stage. Croatia fought until the end to secure a spot against favorites Belgium.
In the round of 16, Brazil built a comfortable advantage in the first half against South Korea, with a partial victory by 4-0. .
Under less risk, Tite was the only coach of the eight classified to have used all 26 players called up, including the third goalkeeper Weverton.
The Europeans, in turn, still faced 30 minutes of extra time before overcoming Japan in the penalty shootout, after a 1-1 draw.
In addition to Juranovic, goalkeeper Livakovic, defenders Gvardiol and Lovren and midfielder Brozovic had no rest.
The Croatian bank’s technical level may have weighed. So far, coach Zlatko Dalic has used just 18 of the 26 he took to Qatar.
“Perhaps in the final minutes it [diferença física] weigh a little. But it’s the World Cup”, summed up defender Thiago Silva, captain of Brazil.
If a team has a history of overcoming World Cups, it is Croatia itself. “Maybe it’s written in heaven that we need to win like this,” said Lovren.
In 2018, the team went through extensions in all the knockout stages until they faced France in the grand final. He beat Denmark and Russia on penalties, in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, respectively. In the semi-final, they beat England in extra time.
“If we had to, we’d play one more [prorrogação] now,” said striker Ivan Perisic after beating the British in the last edition of the World Cup.
Morocco is in a similar situation facing Portugal. The African team also overcame extra time to eliminate favored Spain in the previous stage, after an equally demanding qualifying stage for its players.
The 16 most active Moroccans have played an average of 280 minutes so far, against 235 of Portugal’s main players. Defender Romain Saiss and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat were on the field for all 423 minutes of the African team in the World Cup.
Like Brazil, the Lusitanian team qualified early in the first phase and passed with ease through the round of 16, with a 6-1 defeat of Switzerland.
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