Croatia beat Japan in quarterfinals of the World Cup

Croatia beat Japan on penalties qualifies for quarterfinals of the World Cup
Croatia beat Japan on penalties

Croatia have qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup after winning a penalty shootout against Japan on Monday following a harrowing 1-1 draw in allotment time.

Daizen Maeda gave Japan the lead at Al Janoub Stadium just before half-time when he broke through from a free-kick deep into the opponent’s box.

Croatia countered with an Ivan Perisic header in the 55th minute to set up a tense final half hour, although neither team found a goal in 90 minutes nor in extra time.

Croatia goalkeeper Dominic Kivakovic saved Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida from the penalty spot before Mario Pasalic scored to win the penalty shootout 3-1 and send them into the quarter-finals, where they will face Brazil or Korea, who will play later.

For Japan, it was the fourth round of 16 after losing to Turkey in 2002, a penalty shootout to Paraguay in 2010 and a 2-0 lead to lose to Belgium four years ago.

The game was more open than anyone had reason to expect, as Croatia increased their fitness to gradually control the midfield and Japan tried to attack them at the break.

Perisic was put in the net after the eighth minute, but Gonda saved his shot and Bruno Petkovic also faced off one-on-one, only to gently make an attempted pass into the Japanese keeper’s leg.

Japan showed much more risk than they showed in the first half of the group stage and Shogo Taniguchi, Daichi Kamada and Maeda all had chances to open the scoring before breaking the deadlock in the 43rd minute.

Ritsu Doan received the ball from a short corner and cut his heart into the box, where Bruno Petkovic saved it from within 6 yards under Yoshida’s attention and Maeda jumped to cushion the ball into the net.

The equalizer came 12 minutes later with a cross from the same wing, Dejan Lovren hit a fine shot from inside the box and Perisic moved ahead of his watch to head bravely into the bottom right corner of the box. city ​​of Gonda.

It knocked Japan out of their salvo and Wataru Endo quickly hit a long shot that sent Livakovic over the bar.

Extra time was a bit more erratic, although a tight run and a header from Japanese substitute Kaoru Mitoma provided a superb save for Livakovic just before the break.

Japan kept calm throughout the match but collapsed in the penalty shootout as Nikola Vlasic and Marcelo Brozovic gave Croatia a 2-1 lead before Pasalic sealed the victory for Croatia.

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