(Adnkronos) – Croatia beat Japan 4-2 after a penalty shoot-out in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and qualified for the quarter-finals. The game finished 1-1 after regular time and overtime. To the Japanese advantage signed by Maeda in the 43rd minute, Perisic replied in the 55th minute. Hero of the evening was the Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic, who saved 3 penalties.
The penalty sequence: Minamino (G) saved; Goal by Vlasic (C); Mitoma (parried); Goal by Brozovic (C); Asano (G) goals; Livaja (C) pole; Yoshida (G) saved; Goal by Pasalic (C).
THE MATCH – The first chance came from the ‘Samurai Blu’, who started off with their usual intensity and were already dangerous in the 3rd minute with a header finished just a whisker high by Taniguchi. The Croatian response was not long in coming, but on the developments of a defensive mistake by Tomiyasu Perisic he hesitated too much and then kicked at the goalkeeper in the 8th minute. The Japanese pressure begins to grow, with Ito impregnable for Barisic and systematically at the bottom. In the 13th minute it was his poisonous cross at the far post, Maeda didn’t get ahead of Lovren.
Croatia suffers and relies more on individuals than on the collective, while on the opposite front the Japan national team further raises the center of gravity. Endo’s through ball for Kamada, who returns on the right and kicks sending the ball over the crossbar in the 41st minute. It is the prelude to the Japanese advantage, which arrives in the 43rd minute from a pattern from a corner kick from the right: the ball is put in by Doan, with Maeda kept in play by Lovren and quick to score behind Livakovic for the 1 -0 with which the first fraction ends.
At the start of the second half, Japan seems to restart as in the first half finale: Kamada makes a sudden swerve and explodes a right foot that ends high over the crossbar in the 46th minute. Croatia responded with a shot from Kovacic in the 49th minute and in the 55th minute they equalized with another former Inter player, Ivan Perisic, who did well to beat Gonda with a powerful header from the line in the penalty area following the development of a cross from threequarters of Lovren. In the 63rd minute, Dalic’s national team came close to making a sensational turnaround: a great blow with Modric’s right foot, but Gondo flew wide. It was Perisic who worried Japan again in the 77th minute, taking advantage of a mistake by Yoshida to kick almost without fail, but Tomiyasu patched it up with a providential deflection.
The balance of Japan-Croatia is not unlocked even in extra time. If in the first half the most dangerous is Mitoma in the 105th minute, author of a central shot well saved by Livakovic, the main opportunity in the second is instead that of Majer in the 121st minute: a shot from the edge of the Croatian recently entered, but the ball is far away from the Gonda gate. It comes to penalties and Livakovic takes the chair and Croatia flies to the quarterfinals.