Croatia progressed to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 by knocking out the tournament favorites Brazil on penalties. Croatia snatched victory from the five-time champions 4-2 on penalties when the match was on 1-1 after the extra time on Thursday at Education City Stadium.
Brazil went out of the tournament again in the quarter-finals, their fourth exit in the last five editions.
After the goalless 90 minutes when clear-cut chances were few on both sides, extra time was needed in the game. It was no surprise for Croatia as eight of their last nine tournament knock-out games have gone to extra time. The last one was in this World Cup itself, in Round 16, to beat Japan.
On extra time, Neymar got a lead in the game with a clinical finish in the first half of the extra time stoppage time. With a brilliant knock in the 105th minute, Neymar gave a lead to Brazil. This was his 3rd goal in his six World Cup appearances against European nations and all three were against Croatia. The first two were in the 2014 World Cup.
However, substitute Bruno Petkovic equalized the game with a deflected effort to keep Croatia alive in the second half of the extra time. Petkovic’s goal was Croatia’s latest-ever strike in a World Cup match. With the equalizer in the 117th minute, Petkovic took the match into a penalty shootout, breaking the heart of Brazilians.
Croatia looked sharper and more skilled in the game with a precise plan. In terms of possession, they had an upper hand by the end of the 1st half. The team has never been intimidated by the opponents and stifled most moves early in the first half.
But Brazil had a much better start in the second half, with Lucas Paqueta coming close to a goal in the 66th minute. But Paqueta’s shot was denied by Livakovic.
Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic became the savior of the side again. Livakovic saved many shots in the game and later make use of the penalty shootout for the side.
Livakovic has saved 4 penalties during World Cup penalty shootouts, which was one of the best efforts by a goalkeeper in the tournament’s history.
The match filled with tension and excitement started its penalty shootout and Brazil failed to save Vlasic’s first shot. But Dominik Livakovic saved the first penalty of Rodrygo to give his team an advantage of 1-0. The next three attempts of Croatia by Major, Modric, and Orsic were outstanding, paving way for a 4-2 win.
Even though Brazil’s second and third attempts reached a goal, the fourth penalty by Marquinhos hit the post to give Croatia a shootout win. Brazil falls to the first European nation in the knockouts and it is for the fourth time they have lost in the quarter-finals.
Now, the 2018 runners-up will face Argentina in the semi-finals who also beat the Netherlands on penalties.
|1. Vlasic ✅||1. Rodygo ❌|
|2. Majer ✅||2. Casemiro ✅|
|3. Modric ✅||3. Pedro ✅|
|4. Orsic ✅||4. Marquinhos ❌|