Lloyd, Brian prove crucial to United States’ turnaround at Women’s World Cup

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Three games, three different stadiums, three different tables propped up with microphones and, in Tuesday’s case, blinding lights shining down on Carli Lloyd after a United States victory.

Order has quickly been restored to a world where the U.S. midfielder is her world-class self once again after some early tournament struggles in a more constrained role. Re-writing this team’s Women’s World Cup script is been equal parts main character and supporting cast.

Lloyd has been named by FIFA as the player of the match for the United States’ past three games, all single-elimination knockout matches. She scored in all three matches – twice the game-winner – and her game has evolved from self-critically below her own high standards to MVP-like in a matter of a week. She is a finalist for the Golden Ball, given to the tournament’s best player, and likely the favorite for the award should the U.S. beat Japan on Sunday in the final.

That Lloyd is clutch in big moments is nothing new. She scored the past two gold-medal winning goals for the three-time defending Olympic champion United States.

She’s been asked so much about how and why she is so good on the biggest of stages that the question on Tuesday, after the U.S. beat Germany in the semifinal, drew a light chuckle and a smile from both player and the crowd of reporters.

“Well, I’ve just been training my butt off for the last 12 years,” she said. “These are the moments that I live for,” said Lloyd, a common and clearly accurate refrain.

[KASSOUF: Memories of 2011 World Cup final loss serve as Wambach’s motivation]

Llloyd is one of the United States’ all-time best midfielders and the most productive scorer from the position; Tuesday’s goal was her 66th internationally.

source: Getty Images
Getty Images

“This is kind of where I roll my sleeves up and say to myself, ‘I have to step up,’” Lloyd said postgame. “I think that with Jill [Ellis, U.S. coach] and the coaching staff kind of giving me the flexibility to express myself out on the field, I just needed to deliver in any way possible. Tonight was stepping up for the PK. Mentally as well, I’ve just kind of been trained to be a fierce competitor, live for challenges and never quit, no matter what the scenario is.”

Ellis changed the team’s system of play – first by force due to suspensions for the quartefinal against China, and then by choice on Tuesday, having seen it work successfully – to free up Lloyd into a more attack-minded role

Megan Rapinoe described Lloyd figuratively as “a hunter,” a fitting word for a player who seems to always find the goal.

But behind Lloyd – literally on the field and figuratively in the spotlight – now sits 22-year-old Morgan Brian. She has liberated Lloyd, and also on Tuesday Brian did the same for fellow central midfielder Lauren Holiday.

Brian looked composed beyond her years as a defensive midfielder in the quarterfinal and semifinal. She sat in, clogged passing channels, won the ball and distributed to start the attack, all of which are not necessarily known to be her bread and butter after a standout career at the University of Virginia as an attacking midfielder.

“She’s been pivotal,” Ellis said.

It’s an ironic word choice, pun intended or not. Ellis went with a double pivot – “two number sixes” as she calls it – slotting Brian and Holiday behind Lloyd, who was allowed to freely foray toward goal and at times play as an out-and-out forward alongside Alex Morgan.

“I think she’s come in and she has, she’s kept possession for us, she’s stabilized us at times, allowing Lauren to get forward,” Ellis said of Brian. “It’s not a natural role for her, but she makes it look natural.

“I think she’s been critical,” Ellis added. “I thought she played tremendous today.”

Ellis’ tactics proved perfect on the night, but they were almost derailed 30 minutes into the game when Brian and Germany striker Alexandra Popp collided heads, causing Popp’s head to bleed and eventually be bandaged.

[LAULETTA: Rampone, other veterans met with Ellis at midway point]

Brian stayed on the ground much longer than Popp, lying face-up, looking a bit deliriously at the blue roof covering the 39-year-old Olympic Stadium. Both players re-entered the match almost immediately after going to the sidelines and following brief on-field check-ups. Brian said after the game that she was fine.

On Friday, Ellis said Brian was cleared to play.

“She’s been great, trained 100 percent today,” the U.S. coach said. “The medical staff has done their job.”

FIFA states among its list of “visible clues of suspected concussion”: “Lying motionless on ground/ Slow to get up,” “Grabbing/Clutching of head,” and “Dazed, blank or vacant look.” Any suspicion of a concussion requires a player to be “immediately removed from play,” FIFA writes in all capital letters in its concussion recognition tool.

Dr. Beth McQuiston, a board-certified neurologist and medical director for Abbott’s Diagnostics, calls a concussion a “silent injury,” noting that players are more susceptible to a second concussion within the first 10 days of sustaining one.

Brian and Popp did not suffer concussions, according to their teams.

“I have absolute faith and trust in our medical team to do the right thing,” Ellis said after Tuesday’s semifinal. “They [team Dr. Bojan Zoric] assessed [Brian] on the field, they assessed her at halftime. They go through a strict regimen of protocols that’s set forth by U.S. Soccer. She was fine, no symptoms. But no, I think I would never question our doctors. I think they do the right thing.”

Germany coach Silvia Neid said Popp, who was also briefly examined by Germany’s staff, told her and team doctors that she felt good.

“Our doctor knows our players very, very well,” Neid said.

Popp had her head wrapped and was still seen bleeding after the game once she removed the wrap.

Brian carried on seamlessly with her yeoman’s work, serving as a stopgap that held Germany to just one shot on goal (and a mis-hit cross at that). Germany entered the match as tournament leaders in goals (20) and shots (134), but produced nothing more than speculative efforts from distance. Celia Sasic even became the first German to miss a penalty kick at a Women’s World Cup, her attempt being the 13th in the team’s tournament history.

The U.S. defense remains historically great, having not allowed a goal in 513 minutes. That unit is particularly crucial with the United States’ forward line accounting for only two of the team’s nine goals at this World Cup.

It is the midfield that has changed the course of this United States team at this World Cup, which only 10 days ago looked ominous. If Lloyd is the hunter, Brian is the spotter, surveying the land to scope out any danger. Like USA super-fan Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, Lloyd is the protagonist to this mid-tournament evolution of the United States national team. But the Oscar goes to Brian for best supporting actress. Like any great movie, both are essential to the plot.

Netherlands vs Argentina, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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The Netherlands gets a third chance to beat Lionel Messi in the World Cup when the Dutch meet Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinals at Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday.

Match 57 of the World Cup will be the second of the quarterfinal round and Messi can build on his three goals and assist in Qatar, though the underlying story has been how difficult it’s been to break down the Argentine defense.

STREAM NETHERLANDS vs ARGENTINA LIVE

The CONMEBOL side beat Australia 2-1 In the Round of 16 and now gets a Dutch side that outclassed the USA 3-1 last time out.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Netherlands vs Argentina.


How to watch Netherlands vs Argentina live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Louis van Gaal is looking for arguably the only major trophy to escape his reach with the World Cup, and Virgil van Dijk isn’t too far behind his manager. Jurrien Timber’s joined VVD in a very good back three, Cody Gakpo had been the breakout player of the tournament in all likelihood before Goncalo Ramos captured the world’s attention with his hat trick for Portugal on Tuesday.

Enzo Fernandez has been shining along with Messi, while Nicolas Otamendi has turned back the proverbial clock at center back in a tour de force for the CONMEBOL powers.


Netherlands quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Follow @NicholasMendola

World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, quarterfinals, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

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The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and this tournament in Qatar has been sensational as the knockout rounds will capture the imagination of the globe.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan, Australia and Morocco made the last 16 with so many huge shocks during the tournament, but the Atlas Lions are the only one of the trio to survive into the quarterfinals. Germany, Denmark, and Belgium all crashed out in the group stage.

Argentina meets the Netherlands in the quarterfinals for a familiar matchup that stands between Lionel Messi and a semifinal date with either Brazil or Japan.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

The other side of the bracket sees Morocco meeting Portugal for the right to tangle with the winner of England vs France.

So, yeah, the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final should be dynamite. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Knockout round kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H | Full tables


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Croatia 1-1 Brazil (Croatia wins 4-2 on penalties) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Netherlands vs Argentina (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Morocco vs Portugal (preview) – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: England vs France (preview) – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Winners Match 57 vs Croatia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am


Round of 16 results

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Netherlands 3-1 USA – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3: Argentina 2-1 Australia – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: France 3-1 Poland – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: England 3-0 Senegal – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Japan 1-1 (AET, 1-3 PKs) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Brazil 4-1 South Korea – Stadium 974, Doha

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Morocco 0-0 (AET, 3-0 PKs) Spain – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Portugal 6-1 Switzerland – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail


Group stage results

Group A

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Group B

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group C

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Group D

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Group E

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 2-1 Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Costa Rica 2-4 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Group F

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Croatia 0-0 Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights Canada 1-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group G

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 1-0 Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Serbia 2-3 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha

Group H

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-1 Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


Croatia beats Brazil on penalty kicks to dump favorites out of World Cup

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The favorites to win the World Cup have been dumped out at the quarterfinal stage as Croatia stunned Brazil and beat them on penalty kicks.

This World Cup loves a shock.

Neymar (who was left in tears) and Co. were stunned as the red-hot favorites will not be adding a sixth World Cup trophy to their collection, with Tite’s side creating the better chances throughout but they were made to pay for not having a clinical edge.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

After a tense 90 minutes Brazil thought they had won it when Neymar scored a beauty at the end of the first half of extra time but Bruno Petkovic popped up in the 117th minute to send the game to penalty kicks.

Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the hero again (during the game and penalty kicks) as he saved Rodrygo’s spot kick, then Marquinhos hit the post as Croatia dispatched all four of their penalties to win 4-2.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Croatia have now won their last 16 game (against Japan) and their quarterfinal against Brazil on penalty kicks and they will face the Netherlands or Argentina in the semifinal. The 2018 finalists and relative minnows are dreaming of glory, while the Selecao are heading home.


Watch penalty kicks in full

How the red-hot Selecao were cooled down

The red-hot favorites to win the World Cup are out and they can’t have too many complaints. They had several big chances in the second half but Livakovic did superbly to deny them, while Croatia’s defense held firm and their midfield kept the ball fairly easily and Brazil never controlled the tempo of this game. That hardly ever happens to them. Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic ran the show in midfield, keeping the ball to keep the pressure off their defense and Brazil’s approach to start all of Richarlison, Raphinha, Vinicius Jr and Neymar backfired. They couldn’t get the ball to that quartet early or often enough. Croatia had a threat on the counter and were in this game for large spells but when Neymar put Brazil ahead in the first half of extra time, it seemed like Tite’s side thought they had won it and had survived an almighty scare. When they look back on this tournament, aside from a few moments against South Korea and Serbia they barely got going. The red-hot favorites became luke-warm quarterfinalists as Croatia’s brilliant defending, midfield mastery and an inspired goalkeeper dumped them out of the competition. Neymar’s tears told the whole story.


Stars of the show

Dominik Livakovic: Sensational display to make several stops and was the hero during penalty kicks once again.

Luka Modric: Showed his experience and alongside Kovacic and Brozovic (who were both excellent too) they ran the show in midfield and kept Brazil guessing.

Josip Juranovic: What a display from the right back as he locked down Vinicius Jr and was a threat going forward.

Neymar: Scored a beauty and created most of Brazil’s openings. He was the fifth player up to take a penalty but he wasn’t needed as they had already lost.

Croatia vs Brazil
Graphic via FotMob.com

How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

PENALTY KICKS! After an amazing extra time period when the game really came to life, it has gone to penalty kicks. Croatia up first and Vlasic puts it down the middle. 1-0. And Livakovic saves Rodrygo’s penalty kick. Advantage Croatia! Casemiro smashes home but Livakovic almost got there. 2-1 to Croatia after two penalty kicks each. Modric smashes home and Pedro slots home. Croatia lead 3-2. Croatia boss Dalic can’t look on the sidelines…

Orsic with an incredible penalty kick as he slots he home. Croatia lead 4-2 with one penalty left. Marquinhos must score… and his shot hits the post! INCREDIBLE. Croatia beat Brazil to reach the semifinals. Brazilian players stunned on the pitch.

GOALLL! Neymar has done it in the 106th minute. What a finish after a lovely team move.

Extra time! Croatia 0-0 Brazil at the end of 90 minutes. A very tight, tense, encounter. Not many chances. Croatia have played very well.

Livakovic with another big save. Brazil cranking through the gears late on but Croatia holding firm.

A couple of good chances for Brazil early in the second half but Livakovic denies both Neymar and Paqueta as the ball dropped to them in the box. Two big chances for the Selecao.


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik  was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while Richarlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar. Richarlison, Vini Jr, Raphinha and Neymar all start against Croatia. Wowza.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola

2022 World Cup: What are the overtime and penalty kick rules?

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The 2022 World Cup takes place on Sunday, November 20, and runs through Sunday, December 18 in Qatar featuring 64 matches contested by 32 nations in 8 stadiums over the course of 29 days.

This will be the very first time that a World Cup is being contested in the Middle East but that’s not all that will be new at this year’s tournament.

For the first time in history, the Men’s tournament will have female referees. There will be a total of six: 3 officials and 3 assistants. The officials are Stéphanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda), and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan). Neuza Back (Brazil), Karen Díaz Medina (Mexico), and Kathryn Nesbitt (USA) are the assistants.

Additionally, this will be the first World Cup where teams will be allowed to make 5 substitutions and have 26-player squads. Previously, teams were only allowed to make 3 substitutions and have 23-player squads. Teams will also have the opportunity to make an additional concussion substitution if needed.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 rankings – Who are the favorites?

What are the overtime and penalty kick rules at the World Cup?

If a game is tied after 90 minutes of play, there will be a five minute break and then the match will go into overtime where an extra 30 minutes of time will be given. The time will be divided into two 15-minute periods.

If the score is still tied after extra time is given, the two teams will go into a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. If there is still a tie at the end of the shootout, teams will be given additional rounds of one kick each until the tie is broken.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 schedule – groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates


How to watch the 2022 World Cup:

*All times are listed as ET

  • When: November 20, 2022 – December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5 am, 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channel in English: Fox
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock

RELATED: World Cup 2022 Group B: England, USA, Iran, Wales schedule, fixtures, rankings


2022 World Cup U.S. Group Stage Schedule:

  • U.S. vs. Wales – Monday, November 21 at 2 PM ET
  • U.S. vs. England – Friday, November 25 at 2 PM ET
  • U.S. vs Iran – Tuesday, November 29 at 2 PM ET

2022 World Cup Mexico Group Stage Schedule:

  • Mexico vs. Poland – Tuesday, November 22 at 11 AM ET
  • Mexico vs Argentina – Saturday, November 26 at 2 PM ET
  • Mexico  vs Saudi Arabia – Wednesday, November 30 at 2 PM ET

RELATED: World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, group stage winners


Copa Mundial en Español – Peacock

You can stream all 64 matches of the 2022 Copa Mundial en Español on Peacock.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

 Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup!