Croatia and Japan took it to the extra time and then penalty shoot-out for the first time in World Cup 2022 in breathtaking last-16 tie.
World Cup 2022 – Japan 1-1 Croatia (1-3 Pen) as Livakovic’s penalty heroics send Croatia through on last-16 tie’s thrilling shoot-out.
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Superhero may need no cape, this time he wore a pair of gloves as Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic helped his side came from behind and beat Japan in the penalty shoot-out and reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
World Cup 2022 – Japan 1-1 Croatia (1-3 Pen) – Key moments
- Japan used smart corner kick tactics and took a deserved lead just before half-time through Maeda
- Ivan Perisic headed the 2018 runners-up level in the second half
- Croatia dominated the second half but could not force a winner
- Extra time and then penalties as Dominik Livakovic turned hero to help Croatia advance
Already created two biggest upsets so far by beating Germany and Spain, respectively in group E, Japan went to and impress with first half performance at Al Janoub Stadium and took the lead through Daizen Maeda after a well-worked short corner.
But experiences played a key role, especially with the usual suspect as Croatia, who had fallen behind in all three of their knock-out matches on their way to the 2018 World Cup final. There was no sign of panic shown on Zlatko Dalic’s side.
With proper approaches by quality crosses from both flanks, the European side soon found their equaliser when Ivan Perisic headed home in the 55th minute.
The versatile winger Perisic is one of the surviving members of the Croatia team that reached the 2018 final and, this time the veteran winger delivered in his nation’s hour of need.
He jumped the highest above three defenders to meet an inviting cross from Dejan Lovren a good distance from goal and direct the ball into the far bottom corner.
Perisic now became the first Croatia player to score in five different major tournaments (World Cup and Euros).
There were times when potential goals of the tournament with rockets by Mitoma and Luka Modric all denied by Japan’s Gonda and Croatia’s Livakovic. No more goals came as extra time required.
Extra time and penalties for the first time in Qatar
Japan vs Croatia was the first last-16 tie of this World Cup took it to extra time and then penalty shoot-out.
Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Perisic had all been substituted by the end, who were all tired after restless efforts. Both sides were ready to take the shoot-out.
And Japan could not deliver, with three out of their shots caused zero trouble for Livakovic.
The Dinamo Zagreb pulled an impressive performance, saving three spot-kicks by Takumi Mimamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida despite having zero record in saving any earlier penalties in his career.
Meanwhile, Croatia, who was no stranger to this stage, made no mistake as Marcelo Brozovic and Nikola Vlasic converting their penalties before Pasalic sealed Japan’s fate.
Samurai Blue suffered from heartbroken defeat, yet again, in the hand of another European opponent despite leading (Belgium, World Cup 2018, Japan lost 2-3 despite leading 2-0).
The Asian side have been eliminated from all four of their round-of-16 appearances at the World Cup (D2 L2), while they have lost both of their penalty shootouts in the competition (also vs Paraguay in 2010).
Notable stats after Japan 1-1 Croatia (1-3 pen)
- Croatia have won their last three penalty shoot-outs at the World Cup, having beaten Denmark in the last 16 and hosts Russia in the quarter-finals of the 2018 tournament.
- 3 – Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic is the third goalkeeper to make three saves in a single World Cup penalty shootout after Portugal’s Ricardo in 2006 versus England and Croatia’s Danijel Subasic versus Denmark in 2018.
- Croatia have avoided defeat in five of their last six World Cup matches in which they conceded the first goal (W2 D3 L1).
Croatia will be facing Brazil in the first quarter-final at Education City Stadium on Friday.