If you win, the semi-finals are guaranteed. Goodbye if you lose. In the quarter-final match of such a tough equation, the five-time world champion Brazil faces last season’s runner-up Croatia. On Friday (December 9) at 9 pm, the two teams will take to the field at Al Rayan’s Education City Stadium. From the beginning of the match, two teams were playing for the goal. But no one saw the goal.
Brazil was the last European to win the first World Cup held on Asian soil in 2002. Since then, Brazil could not beat any European opponent in the quarter-finals of the world football stage. Brazil was not able to break the streak even after coming to the World Cup in Qatar. Neymar took the lead in extra time, but Croatia equalized later, forcing the match into a tiebreaker.
At the end of the match tied 1-1, Brazil’s first shot in the tiebreaker was taken by young substitute forward Rodrigo. But succumbing to extreme nerves, he took a weak shot, which was blocked by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, who played brilliantly in the match. After Rodrigo, Marquinhos’ miss ruined Brazil. On the other hand, Croatia scored on all four shots. In the end, Croatia won the tiebreaker with a margin of 4-2 and reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. The Croats are in the last four for the third time in their sixth World Cup. Brazil’s 12th semi-final did not happen.
Brazil entered the field as favorites against Croatia on Friday (December 9) at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. In the fourth minute of the match, Vinicius Jr. wanted to give the Seleção the lead with a curling shot from 25 yards from the left end. However, Croatian goalkeeper Dominic Livakovic, who saved three penalties in the tiebreaker against Japan, easily palmed away the Brazilian winger’s shot.
After the first few minutes, Croatia gradually took control of the match. Last year’s runners-up also got the first clear chance to score in the match. Mario Palasic received the ball from Ripback Juranovic in a dynamic attack. However, Ivan Perisic couldn’t properly connect the extended ball of the Croat winger to his feet as their match was kept aside.
After eight minutes, however, Brazil had a chance to take the lead. Beaten the Croatia defense from the left and broke into the D-box. However, Livakovic did not have the speed to block the shot taken by the Brazilian winger. A few seconds before that, Croat fullback Borna Sosa blocked Vinicius’ shot near the penalty spot.
Late in the first half, however, Brazil was awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area after Richarlison was fouled. However, Neymar’s free-kick was able to test Croat goalkeeper Livakovic, and the two teams went into the break goalless.
Croatia was basically trying to take control of the game by occupying the midfield. But Brazil was ahead in terms of possession and shots on goal. However, the first half was evenly contested as Croatia did not lag behind in the attack.
At the beginning of the second half, however, Brazil caught Croatia. In the 47th minute, Neymar and Richarlison spread terror in Croatia’s D-box. Richarlison took a shot from Militao’s pass but Guardiola blocked it. However, the moment the ball crossed the goal line after changing direction, Livakovic blocked the ball with his foot.
Minutes later another great attack came from Brazil. The referee created a bit of excitement before the attack took its final form. The Croatia defender extended his hand to take the long ball to Neymar. The referee suspects handball. VAR considered the possibility of a penalty but did not rule in favor of handball.
Read More: Neymar Created History by Touching Pele With a Goal
In the 55th minute, Brazil had another chance to score. However, even though Neymar took a shot on Richarlison’s left foot, Livakovic blocked it. In the 68th minute, Lucas Paqueta’s attempt from Rodrigo’s pass was blocked by the Croatian goalkeeper for a corner.
In the 76th minute, Neymar had a great opportunity to score again. But Croatia survived with Livakovic’s determination. After four minutes, Lucas Paqueta had another chance to score after Rodrigo and Militao combined. However, the left-footed shot of the Brazilian defender was blocked by Livakovic, who appeared as a wall of China.
In the 82nd minute, Richarlison headed the ball from Rodrigo. But the ball goes over the post. In 86 minutes, a great opportunity was wasted by Brazil. Eder Militao’s shot is blocked by the Croat defense. Substitute Nama Anthony’s shot from the corner was saved by the Croatian defender. At the end of four minutes of added time, Antoni’s shot from the right wing was saved by Croat goalkeeper Livakovic to take the match into extra time.
Anthony attempted an acrobatic kick from Thiago Silver’s cross 10 minutes into extra time. But as the ball was not connected properly, Croat took possession of the ball right from the goalkeeper Livakovic. A couple of minutes later, Croatia had a chance to score. Croatian forward Bruno Petkovic entered the D-box after dodging two Brazilian defenders on the left flank. He also crossed the ball to Marcelo Brozovic who was standing in the gap. But Brozovic’s shot went over the post.
Finally, Neymar broke the wall of the Croat defense in the 105th minute. When the ball was pushed to Neymar from in front of the D-box, the Brazilian winger took control and beat a Croat defender. Livakovic, standing as an impenetrable wall in front of Brazil, came to stop Neymar. Neymar moved a little to the right and beat him too, coolly sending the ball into the net. Through this, Neymar reached Pele who is the highest goal scorer in Brazil by scoring the 77th goal for the national team.
Read More: Brazil’s Possibility of Winning the World Cup, Argentina’s no Chance
After Neymar’s record-breaking goal, it seemed only a matter of time before Brazil reached the semi-finals. However, after conceding the goal, Croatia, which was eager to handle Brazil’s defense throughout the match, was reluctant to return to the match. Croatia finally got back into the match four minutes before the end of extra time. Bruno Petkovic got the ball from Mislav Orsic’s pass and a great shot went into the Brazilian net. Neither side scored in the rest of the period, so the match went to a tiebreaker.
Nikola Vlasic put Croatia ahead by scoring from the first shot of the tiebreaker. Rodrigo came to take the first shot for Brazil. His shot was blocked by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Lavro Mazar scored his second century for Croatia. Casemiro scored the second shot for Brazil. After that, Luka Modric increased Croatia’s lead by scoring in the third shot.
Then Pedro scored for Brazil. Mislav Oracic then scored the fourth shot for Croatia. Then Marquinhos failed to score from the fourth shot for Brazil. Croatia’s victory is confirmed by this. They move on to the semi-finals. And Brazil has to withdraw from the World Cup. As a result, Mission Hexa remained elusive.