In a penalty shootout, Croatia defeated Japan 3-1 and made it to the fourth round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 for the third time after a thrilling 120-minute match ended 1-1 on Monday.
Livakovic denied Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida before Mario Pasalic calmly beat Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda to set up Friday’s quarterfinal matchup between Croatia and Brazil or South Korea.
The Croatians reached the knockout rounds three times in Russia four years ago, fought from behind to advance in extra time but ultimately fell to France in the championship game.
They again demonstrated perseverance and patience by overcoming a one-goal deficit to defeat a spirited Japan team that defeated Germany and Spain in the group round.
Daizen Maeda started the opening for Japan in the 43rd minute, and Ivan Perisic scored the equalizer 10 minutes after halftime. Still, the teams could not separate themselves for the remainder of the match.
It is Japan’s fourth time being eliminated in the round of 16 competitions. The game was more open than anyone could have anticipated, with Croatia increasing their physicality to gradually take control of the midfield and Japan attempting to hurt them on the counterattack.
Perisic was passed through on goal in the ninth minute, but Gonda blocked his effort. A one-on-one opportunity also came to Bruno Petkovic, but they tapped a pass attempt through Gonda’s legs.
Shogo Taniguchi and Maeda all had chances to open the score before Maeda broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute, displaying significantly more daring than in the first half of Japan’s group matches.
Croatia beats Japan in Shootout.
Ritsu Doan took a short corner and curled the ball into the box. Where Bruno deflected it back across the six-yard area while Yoshida closely guarded him. And pounced to tuck it into the net.
Luka Modric had a long-range shot blocked by Gonda in the 63rd minute. While substitute Ante Budimir missed the goal with a header.
Gonda had to be at his best once more in the 77th minute to save a rocket shot from Perisic. While Japan continued their attacks without creating any clear-cut opportunities.
Japan maintained composure throughout the match, but they lost their composure in the penalty shootout as Nikola Vlasic, and Marcelo Brozovic put Croatia ahead 2-1 before Pasalic secured the victory for Croatia.
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