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Croatia advance to quarterfinals after beating Japan on penalties

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World Cup

Croatia is through to the quarterfinal stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but it was far from easy as it took the lottery of penalty kicks to get past Japan.

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Janoub Stadium

After battling to a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time, Croatia prevailed 3-1 following penalty kicks at Al Janoub Stadium.

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World Cup

It was a similar scenario for Croatia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they weathered the storm and made it all the way to the final before losing to France.

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World Cup

Japan, who have recorded comeback victories in their previous World Cup games, scored first in Monday’s knockout tie against Croatia.

Maeda Daizen

Maeda Daizen’s finish off Maya Yoshida’s header early in the first half gave the Asians the lead.

World Cup

Japan vs Croatia in the World Cup

However, the lead was canceled 10 minutes into the second half by Ivan Perisic, who headed in a Dejan Lovren cross.

Blue Samurai

The game then proceeded to overtime and penalties where the Blazers defeated the Blue Samurai 3-1 with Dominik Livakovic becoming the hero of the day with a hat trick save during the shootout.

First half

Blue Samurai

After kick-off, the Blue Samurai rolled the ball and three minutes later, Shogo Taniguchi’s header from a corner went wide.

Ivan Perisic

Six minutes later, Ivan Perisic intercepted Tomiyasu in the defensive box but was unable to beat Shuichi Gonda, costing Croatia a crucial opportunity to break the tie.

Borna Barisic

The Japanese then continued to advance against the Croats’ left flank, towards Borna Barisic. After Daizen Maeda couldn’t get his hand into Junya Ito’s cross in the 13th minute, they quickly squandered another terrible opportunity.

Luka Modric

After a poorly executed free-kick by Luka Modric in the 40th minute, Japan’s Ito received a counter-pass and passed the ball to Kamada, who then shot over the crossbar.

However, the Samurai’s persistence paid off three minutes before half-time when they surged from Maeda’s shot to Yoshida’s header.

World Cup

Maeda’s World Cup debut goal means Japan will score ahead of their opponents for the first time. All his goals have always been after conceding.

second half

Ito and Kamada

Japan continued to show brighter form in the second half, with Ito and Kamada threatening the Croatian defence.

World Cup

Japan vs Croatia in the World Cup

But, 10 minutes into the second half, Croatia equalized with Ivan Perisic’s header from Dejan Lovren’s low cross from a corner kick.

Two minutes later, Endo’s shot was deflected by Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic.

Luka Modric

Luka Modric, finding a potential winner for the Blazers, fired a half-volley shot that was saved by Gondo in the 63rd minute.

World Cup

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Ante Budimir

Three minutes later, Kramaric’s cross was misdirected by substitute Ante Budimir’s header.

Ivan Perisic

The Croats continued to show class with 20 minutes to go before stoppage time. Ivan Perisic, who earned the equalizer for the Blazers, tried for a second on a loose ball, but Tomiyasu deflected it away for a corner in the 77th minute. Two minutes later, Asano blocked Barisic’s resulting corner kick.

After so much wasted effort, both proceeded to extra time which still produced no goals as the score remained 1-1.

Penalty fee

World Cup

The Croats have often gotten their way in World Cup penalty shootouts and they did so again in the first shootout of 2022.

Takumi Minamino

The Blazers went nose first after Livakovic saved Takumi Minamino’s penalty while Vlasic put Croatia ahead.

Livakovic and Brozovic

The Samurai met the same fate after Mitoma’s attempt was saved by Livakovic and Brozovic, who scored against Russia, scored again.

Takumi Asano

Takumi Asano then scored for Japan to give his team a lifeline, and Marko Livaja failed to score for Croatia afterwards.

But Japan

But Japan’s slim hopes were extinguished after Livakovic completed his hat-trick on a Maya Yoshida try and Mario Pasalic sealed the victory for the Blazers.

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