Croatia into the quarter-finals after beating Japan

Croatia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, after the penalty shootout (1-1; 3 pens to 0), on Monday December 5 at the Al Janoub stadium in Doha. In the next round, the Croats will play the winner of the meeting between Brazil and South Korea.

From the first minutes, Japan offered themselves a dangerous first opportunity with a corner from the left side struck by Ito at ground level. Taniguchi recovers a cross from the head at the far post but it is next to Livakovic’s cages.

Shaken by the Japanese, the Croats are also offensive in the 8th minute. Perisic gets rid of a right shot but it is countered by Gonda.

The first twenty minutes are very animated for the two parts which push to open the score.

Croatia are taking the lead in the last quarter of an hour before half-time. Kramaric was close to the opener, but the Japanese defense managed to pull through.

Japan proved dangerous and opened the scoring in the 43rd minute thanks to Daizen Maeda. On a corner from Ito played in two stages, Doan crosses from the left. The ball goes back to Gvardiol then to Maeda who regains the right and scores. VAR was used and confirmed there was no offside position.

At the start of the 2nd half, the Croatian defense suffered following a cross from Doan from the left side. Livakovic hesitates to intervene and, after a succession of headers, the ball comes out of the box.

Croatia equalize in the 55th minute on a Perisic goal. On a perfect cross from Lovren from the right side, Perisic, at the entrance to the surface, beats Ito and Tomiyasu to place a powerful cross header.

In the 63rd minute, Zlatko Dalic’s men were close to doubling the lead with a fine shot from Modric twenty meters away and deflected by Gonda. He tries again a few minutes later but without success.

The Japanese regain possession of the ball in the 80th minute. Served by Mitomo, Tomiyasu finds himself in a good position on the left side of the surface but the Croatian defense leaves him no chance.

The additional time will not have been conclusive for the two nations who will have to play extra time.

Hajime Moriyasu’s men took the good end of this extension, against Croats who are experiencing a small drop in speed.

In the 105th minute, Japan passed in front of a big opportunity. After a mad dash from midfield, Mitoma strikes from the right but is unsuccessful. The Japanese continue to push in the final minutes of extra time.

Probably last opportunity for Croatia, with an off-target shot from Majer’s right.

Japan and Croatia failed to decide after regulation time and extra time and went to penalties.

By succeeding in their penalty shootout, Croatia validated their ticket to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup after a very tight match that kept the spectators spellbound.

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