Croatia Beat Japan in the Tiebreaker to Reach the Quarter-Finals

Croatia Beat Japan in the Tiebreaker
Croatia Beat Japan in the Tiebreaker to Reach the Quarter-Finals

Japan had the opportunity to rewrite its history in football. For that purpose, the Asian country advanced by scoring first for the first time in the World Cup. But Japan could not stand up to the experience of Croatia in the knockout match.

Japan and Croatia meet in the fifth match of the second round of the Qatar World Cup at the Al Zanob Stadium in Al Wakrah. After 120 minutes of play between the two teams, the match was decided by a tiebreaker. Where Croatia defeated the giants of Asia by 3-1. Dominik Livakovic was the hero of the Croats’ victory in this episode. He blocked three of the four hundred taken by Japan. In this first penalty shootout of the World Cup in Qatar, Croatia reached the last eight after making Japan cry.

With this loss, the dream of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time was missed by Japan. Like the 2002, 2010, and 2018 World Cups, the Asian team left the last sixteen.

Japan got the desired goal in the 43rd minute. Croat defenders could not clear the opponent’s cross into the box from the right side. Maeda put Japan ahead with a perfect shot from the goalpost. At the beginning of the second half, the match returned to parity. In the 55th minute, Perisic scored a wonderful header from Dejan Lovren’s cross in the D-box. With this, the 33-year-old forward scored 6 goals in the World Cup.

A goalless draw then sent the match into extra time—a first in the last 16 at the World Cup. Croatia has taken 7 of the total 8 matches in the knockout phase of the World Cup and Euro together. The result could have been different if Kaoru Mitoma’s shot in the 105th minute had not been incredibly saved by Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

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Neither team attacked like that in the second half of extra time. Kovačić-Budimir got two opportunities at this time but could not use them. It was understood that the goal is to take the match to a tiebreaker by playing carefully. Croatia’s goalkeeper Livakovic stopped Japan’s Takumi Minamino from the first shot in the tiebreaker. Nikola Vlasic scored for Croatia in the next shot.

Livakovic also saved Japan’s second shot from Kauro Mitoma to bring the Croats closer to victory. Brozovic was also on target with the second shot for the Croats. After Asano’s goal, Livakovic turned Croatia’s victory into a matter of time by stopping Japan’s Maya Ishoda. Mario Pasalic then scored to seal a 3-1 win for Croatia.

Croatia Beat Japan in the Tiebreaker
Croatia Beat Japan in the Tiebreaker

Earlier, both teams played like a chess strategy in both halves of the scheduled time. No one wanted to lose the ball in extra runs. The attack is slow and steady. Croatia attacked in the first half relying on left-winger Ivan Perisic.

In the 3rd minute, Japan would have scored if Shogo Tanguichi headed Ritsu Doan’s cross from the right. After that, Croatian star Perisic wasted two goals. Finally, in the 40th minute, Moriasu’s team got the ball in the box from Luka Modric’s free-kick and scored a goal in every attack.

Ritsu Doan made a play from the corner and crossed into the box. Japanese winger Dayen Maeda coolly sent the ball into Croatia’s net after getting the ball in the middle of the jam. Japan, who came to the last sixteen with only 32 percent possession of the ball in the group stage, scored a goal with only 41 percent possession of the ball in the first half. But it was understood that after the break, Croatia will die.

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Perisic showed that exactly 10 minutes after the start of the second half. Croatia got the equalizing goal as a result of spreading the pressure.

In the match, Japan was repeatedly beaten to gain possession of the ball in the air in front of the height of the Croatians. The goal also came from such a ball. Perisic jumped into the box to head Dejan Lovren’s cross. None of Japan’s defenders were able to stop the goal.

In the end, Croatia broke its dream of Japan in the tiebreaker and reached the quarter-finals. Croatia won 3-1.

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