World Cup: Croatia beat Japan 3-1 on penalties, Enters quarter-finalstext_fields
Croatia beat Japan in a dramatic 3-1 penalty shoot-out to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. The tense last 16 match ended in 1-1.
The game started off well for Japan when it took a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute with Daizen Maeda's goal. Ten minutes into the second half, Croatia's Ivan Perisic scored an equaliser. Both teams failed to break the tie even after using 30 minutes of extra time.
The penalty shootout cost Japan as Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved penalties from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida. Dominik Livakovic is the first goalkeeper to save the first two penalties in a World Cup shootout. Only Takuma Asano scored for Japan in the shootout.
Marko Livaja missed his shot while Nikola Vlasic, Mario Pasalic, and Marcelo Brozovic scored for Croatia.
Croatia will now face Brazil in the quarter-finals. Peter Schmeichel, a former Manchester United goalkeeper, told BBC that Brazil is far too superior and Croatia may not have many chances against them. He said Croatia has won on the narrowest of margins today.
He further said that Japan's performance has been fantastic. "To beat Germany the way they did, to beat Spain when they needed to. They have to be so proud of what they have done and travel back to Japan with their heads held high," he added.