World Cup data dive: Neymar's record-levelling goal not enough as Brazil crash out, Messi's heroics help Argentina through

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The 2022 World Cup quarter-finals got underway in Qatar on Friday, and they certainly lived up to the high expectations.

Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favourites, looked to be on their way to a hard-fought extra-time victory over Croatia after Neymar's mazy run and finish put them a goal to the good, equalling Pele as the Selecao's all-time top goalscorer.

But in the 116th minute, substitute Bruno Petkovic's deflected effort levelled the game, before Rodrygo and Marquinhos missed in the shoot-out to send Croatia to their second consecutive World Cup semi-final and break Brazil hearts.

Argentina fared better than their South American rivals, but were also taken all the way to penalties by the Netherlands despite holding a two-goal lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

A Nahuel Molina strike and a Lionel Messi spot-kick put La Albiceleste two goals to the good, but Wout Weghorst pulled a goal back before levelling in the 11th minute of additional time to force penalties.

However, Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis saw their penalties saved by Emiliano Martinez in the shoot-out, before Lautaro Martinez fired home to send Argentina through in dramatic fashion.

Here, Stats Perform takes a closer look at the key facts and figures from Friday's enthralling quarter-finals.

Croatia 1-1 Brazil (aet, 4-2 pens): Neymar's record-equalling goal in vain as Tite's men crash out

Another chance for Brazil to win a record-extending sixth World Cup went begging as they became the first team in tournament history to be eliminated from a knockout match in which they scored the opening goal during extra-time.

Neymar's strike was his 77th for Brazil, meaning he is now level with Pele as their all-time record goalscorer.

But the 30-year-old was left in tears at the end of the match, with Brazil having now been eliminated in four of their last five World Cup quarter-finals, as well as their last six knockout games against European teams at the tournament.

The Selecao registered 2.56 xG (expected goals) in comparison to Croatia's 0.62, but they lacked ruthlessness and have now failed to score in the first half of six of their last seven World Cup games, the outlier of those being the four they netted in the first half against South Korea in the 2022 round of 16.

In stark contrast to Brazil's despair after the game, Croatia's players were overjoyed as they secured yet another win where they were forced to go the distance, with seven of their last eight matches at major tournaments going to extra-time.

Things were looking bleak for Croatia, but Petkovic's equaliser with four minutes left of extra-time was their latest ever goal scored at the World Cup, while they became the first side on record since 1966 to score with their first shot on target when it came in extra-time.

Zlatko Dalic's men have a never-say-die attitude that always gives them a chance, and despite conceding the first goal in seven of their last nine World Cup matches, they have only gone on to lose one of those matches, the 4-2 final defeat to France in the 2018 final.

Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (aet, 3-4 pens): Messi's men triumph in feisty thriller

Messi's hopes of winning his first World Cup stay alive, though his team were made to work hard for their win in a match that saw 15 cards, more than any other game in World Cup history.

Messi's sublime assist set up Molina for his first international goal after 25 matches for La Albiceleste, while the Paris Saint-Germain man's penalty for the second was his 10th World Cup strike, the joint-most of any Argentina player alongside Gabriel Batistuta.

His goal and assist made it 17 World Cup goal involvements for Messi, surpassing Diego Maradona's 16, and his five assists in the World Cup knockout stages are the most on record.

Argentina looked on their way to the final four in comfortable fashion, but Weghorst scored twice to become the first Netherlands substitute to score a World Cup double, with his equaliser after 100 minutes and 30 seconds the latest second-half goal in a World Cup knockout game since records began in 1966.

Therefore, Argentina were forced to win the game from the spot, though Martinez saved twice in the shootout to secure their fifth World Cup penalty shoot-out win, more than any other nation in tournament history.

Argentina progress from a World Cup quarter-final for the fourth time and it looks promising for their final chances, considering they have advanced from all of their three previous semi-finals at the competition.