2022 FIFA World Cup Knockout Stage Predictions

If you would like to see my pre Group Stage predictions before continuing with this article, please follow this link.

In what has to be one of the most unpredictable World Cups, I only managed to accurately predict 10 out of the 16 nations to advance to the knockout stage and only one matchup (Netherlands vs United States) is as I envisioned. Time will tell if I fare better or worse (likely the latter) in the Knockout Stage. Here we go!

The World Cup Trophy

Round of 16

Netherlands vs United States

To paraphrase my thoughts from my earlier article, the United States’s weakest area is their striker while the Netherlands excel in defense. Denzel Dumfries, Nathan Ake, Jurrien Timber, Virgil van Dijk, and Daley Blind could be the code the Americans are tasked with cracking, and their striker options are Josh Sargent, Haji Wright, and Jesus Ferreira. Christian Pulisic is healthy and raring to go, but while my heart believes in the USA, my head still says Netherlands.

Netherlands 2–1 United States

Argentina vs Australia

Another traditional football power against a nation who calls the sport soccer instead. The Socceroos made it to their second ever Round of 16 after beating Denmark 1–0 in their final group game, and the last time they made it this far they pushed eventual champions Italy to extra time in 2006. In the sense of this being a hard fought battle, history will repeat itself. I can’t see Argentina going out here though.

Argentina 2–1 Australia

Japan vs Croatia

The Group Stage gives me confidence that at least one non European or South American nation will get to the quarterfinals of this World Cup after all quarterfinalists hailed from the traditional powerhouse continents in 2018. Japan looks like a prime candidate to make it happen, but this is one of the hardest matchups to predict. Will the Japan that stunned Germany and Spain show up or the side that slipped up against Costa Rica? Same question for Croatia: will it be a masterclass against Canada sequel or the team that came up stuck against Morocco and Belgium? Japan proved to be efficient with their chances so far, so they get the edge.

Japan 1–0 Croatia

Brazil vs South Korea

The thought of a first ever all Asian knockout stage game is exciting, but unfortunately for South Korea, they face the favorites Brazil. South Korea already beat one Portuguese speaking nation in the group stage, but context is key there. Portugal had locked up qualification to the next round, rotated players, and Ronaldo only played the first hour. Brazil also had the luxury of resting players in their final group match against Cameroon, with a 1–0 loss to the African nation unlikely to raise too many alarm bells especially if Neymar is back in action. Brazil will see this test through.

Brazil 3–1 South Korea

England vs Senegal

The last time England faced an African side in the knockout stage was back in 1990 where Cameroon met them in the quarterfinals, went up 2–1 against the Three Lions, but ultimately fell 3–2. Senegal are looking to become the first country from their continent to make multiple quarterfinals, and they’ll prove to be a difficult test for England. Senegal have played well without Sadio Mane, finding goals from multiple sources (including an unlikely one in Kalidou Koulibaly to send them past Ecuador). England have more depth though and that’ll be the difference here.

England 1–0 Senegal (After Extra Time)

France vs Poland

An all European showdown will pit Ballon D’Or contender Robert Lewandowski against a France side missing this year’s award winner Karim Benzema for the tournament due to injury. The bad news for Poland is beyond Lewandowski, Milik, Zieliński, and Szczęsny, their team is good but not great. France meanwhile have one of the deepest rosters at the World Cup and their players are rested after locking up qualification in the first two games. I know I’ve leaned heavily on rest over rust, but Kylian Mbappe has played well so far and that’ll continue here.

France 2–0 Poland

Morocco vs Spain

If Senegal can’t overcome England, Morocco would be Africa’s last hope to have a 4th quarterfinalist in World Cup history. In my original predictions, I had Spain starting off slower and finishing 2nd in their group behind Germany before finding another gear in the knockout stage. Spain instead finished behind Japan, but the logic remains. Morocco will be a challenging matchup for Spain as their midfield will be able to keep up with Gavi and Pedri, and this may need penalties to resolve the issue. I think Spain will find a way but Morocco will continue to impress even if this is the end.

Morocco 1–1 Spain: Spain advance 6–5 on penalties

Portugal vs Switzerland

Cristiano Ronaldo’s supporting cast featuring João Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes, and Rafael Leao are less role players and more stars in their own right, and they’ll need to align to prevent the Swiss from pulling off an upset. Switzerland got the job done against Cameroon and Serbia and held off Brazil for a while before they broke through. Switzerland have the organized defense to frustrate Portugal’s attacking threats and they have opportunistic attackers of their own such as Breel Embolo. Switzerland will pull the rug from underneath Portugal after a long struggle.

Portugal 1–2 Switzerland (After Extra Time)


Netherlands vs Argentina

Japan vs Brazil

England vs France

Spain vs Switzerland

This is now hypothetical land so I’ll do the remaining predictions round by round. Argentina and Brazil look to be on a collision course and have played some of the best football at the World Cup, so they’ll leave Netherlands and Japan in their wake. I originally had England going to the semifinals but that’s when I expected Denmark (one of the biggest fails of my group stage predictions) to be their opponent. If France continues to play at peak performance, that should be game over for the Three Lions. Sorry, it’s not coming home. Spain vs Switzerland would be a Euro 2020 rematch, and sadly for the Swiss they won’t be getting their revenge. As much fun as the group stage was with the upsets, usually by the semifinals the elite teams find their way.

Semifinals (and Final)

Argentina vs Brazil

France vs Spain

No nation has won the World Cup back to back since Brazil back in 1958 and 1962 and a big reason for that is the parity among the top tier nations. That is the biggest reason why Spain will take down France in the semifinals, along with their midfield being able to outplay the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot (although they’ve done well so far). I will stick with Brazil overcoming their archnemesis Argentina in the semifinals in what should be the more entertaining out of these two matchups.

While that would mean Lionel Messi won’t ride off into the sunset with the elusive World Cup trophy, Argentina will end on a high note to beat France in the Third Place Match.

Brazil vs Spain meet again in my prediction final and if this comes to fruition, this would be redemption for my botched predictions. The fact that Spain finished 2nd and this is still possible fills me with some consolation. I will stick to my original prediction and have Brazil winning it all. For those of you that read my original predictions, this may be anticlimactic, but hey what can you do?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter @IvanOrnelas2



Manchester United, Quakes, Roots, and Chivas fan. Primarily covering soccer, followed by other sports. Occasionally Writes about Reality TV and Games too.

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Ivan Ornelas

Manchester United, Quakes, Roots, and Chivas fan. Primarily covering soccer, followed by other sports. Occasionally Writes about Reality TV and Games too.