Croatia are through to the quarter finals of the 2022 World Cup after beating Japan on penalties in their Round of 16 clash. The shootout ended 3-1 in the favour of the 2018 finalists, as they set up a meeting with Brazil for a spot in the semifinals. This was the first knockout match at the 2022 World Cup which had to be decided on penalties, after the game finished level.
Dominik Livakovic was the hero for Croatia, as he made three crucial saves in the shootout. For his incredible display between the sticks, he was named the man of the match. Mario Pasalic took the final penalty to send his country to the quarter finals, breaking Japanese hearts.
Croatia emerge victorious after penalty shootout clash
Japan had Croatia concerned after they took the lead just before half time. Daizen Maeda reacted quickest following a short corner from the Asian side. And he was able to put the ball in the back of the net to give his side the lead at a great time.
But, Croatia were able to equalise from seemingly out of nowhere shortly into the second half. They weren’t able to move the ball fast enough to trouble the Japanese defenders in the first half. And Dejan Lovren’s cross gave them a lifeline with very little build-up.
Japan were one of the dark horses this time at the World Cup, defeating 2014 winners Germany and 2010 winners Spain en route to the Round of 16. But, a resolute performance from Livakovic sees them bow out.