FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat Japan 3-1 in penalty shootout to enter World Cup quarter-finals

Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livkovic made three saves in the penalty shoot-out against Japan in the World Cup pre-quarterfinals on Monday to help his side reach the last eight. The score remained 1–1 in regular time. After this, both the teams failed to score in extra time as well. Croatia defeated Japan 3–1 in the penalty shootout.

Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mario Pasalic scored for Croatia, while only Takuta Asano could score for Japan. Tukami Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida failed to score for the team. Marco Livaja misses to score for Croatia. During the last World Cup, Croatia won three extra-time matches and the 2018 runners-up once again reignited their reign.

This was the team’s seventh win in the last eight extra-time matches in the knockout stages of major tournaments such as the Euro and the World Cup. Japan took the lead in the 43rd minute of the first half through Dezen Maeda. On the team’s short corner, Ritsu Done passed to Yoshida and the ball reached Maeda with Yoshida’s header and he made no mistake in scoring. However, Croatia leveled the score at 1-1 in the 55th minute after the interval. Ivan Perisic scored a header on Lovren’s pass to bring the team back into the match. Having defeated teams like Spain and Germany in the group stage, they made an aggressive start in this encounter. The team scored two tries in the first three minutes but Croatia’s defense was alert.

Croatia then began to find their rhythm and came close to taking the lead in the eighth minute but Japan goalkeeper Suiji Gonda made a brilliant save. Taking advantage of a mistake by Takahiro Tomiyasu, Perisic shot the ball towards the goal post but Gonda once again made a good save. Croatia’s defense has been impressive so far in the tournament and against Japan the team went on the offensive with a flurry of crosses into the box. During this, Perisic’s header was stopped by the Japanese players. After this, Petkovic also missed the chance after being in a good position.

In the 41st minute of the match, Eto’o reached Croatia’s half with a counter-attack but Kamada hit the ball over the net from his created opportunity. Ritsu Don then delivered Yoshida’s superb cross which Maeda scored to give Japan the lead. After the interval, Perisic equalized the score in the 55th minute. This was Perisic’s first goal in the ongoing World Cup while it was his sixth goal in the tournament’s history. He has also assisted in four goals during this period. Only Lionel Messi (12) and Kylian Mbappe (11) have more goals and assists than him.

Croatia were high in confidence after scoring the equalizer and a powerful effort from team legend Luka Modric in the 63rd minute of the match was brilliantly saved by the Japanese goalkeeper. Now the Japanese team was increasing the pace of the match but its players were not able to keep the ball with them. In the last minute of the match, Mateo Kovacic was shown a yellow card after clashing with Eto’o. This was the first yellow card of this match. After the game was tied in regular time, Japan won the first corner in extra time, but the team could not take advantage of it.

In the 94th minute of the match, Mitamo entered the Croatian half with the ball and passed the ball to Asano, but he missed the opportunity. Croatia made two changes in the 98th minute of the match, with Lovro Majer coming in for captain Modric and Vlasic coming in for Kovacic. In the 105th minute of the match, Mitova after tackling the ball in the team’s half went on to dodge Croatia’s players but her fiery shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Two minutes later the team created another chance but Asano missed once again.

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After the interval of extra time, the Croatian players started playing the ball in the air to take advantage of their length but it did not work. In the 111th minute of the match, Koricic had a chance to score on Kroner but Gonda cleared the ball from the box. shipped out. Juranovic then tried a throw-in but Gonda defended it well and then Japan counter-attacked but to no avail. Lovaro Major got a chance in the last stoppage time of the match but his shot went wide of the goal.

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