FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat Japan on penalties to book quarter-final spot

Japan missed three penalties out of four, while Croatia missed only one

By Web Desk
December 05, 2022
Croatia will next clash with either Brazil or South Korea — Twitter/B/R Football

Croatia beat Japan 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to book their place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Janoub Stadium on Monday.

Daizen Maeda gave Japan the lead before half-time, but Ivan Perisic equalised after 10 minutes into the second half.

Japan started great with a dangerous free-kick by Takehiro Tomiyasu across the face of the goal. However, no Japanese attacker could guide the ball in.

Seconds later, Shogo Taniguchi had the chance to give Japan an early lead but he headed wide.

In the eighth minute, Kramaric snatched the ball from Tomiyasu and fancied his chances but couldn't place the ball.

The Asian side posed a threat after 10 minutes into first as a low drilled ball by Junya Ito. Unfortunately, Daizen Maeda and Yuto Nagatomo weren't able to touch the ball as it went out of play for a goal kick.

The 2018 semi-finalists had their best chance in the 29th minute as Luka Modric passed to Ivan Perisic, who guided it into the box, but Andrej Kramaric is double-teamed as he tried to turn the ball in at the back post.

Japan immediately counter-attacked after Luka Modric's free-kick, but Hidemasa Morita's cross was blocked. Daichi Kamada received the ball in the area and dribbled past a defender, but his shot curled high and wide of the far post.

Japan took the lead in the 43rd minute, thanks to Celtic's Maeda.

Ritsu Doan whipped in the last cross after three Japan players combined for a corner. It struck a few players before landing at Maeda's feet from six yards away. Maeda made no errors in placing the ball into the goal.

The experienced Ivan Perisic scored the equaliser in the 56th minute via an extremely powerful header.

Perisic scored his 10th major tournament goal and Croatia.

Josip Juranovic pulled the ball back to Dejan Lovren, who whipped in a cross from deep. Perisic got free to head the ball into the bottom corner.

After a few minutes, veteran midfielder Luka Modric hit it really well as he tried to dip it over the keeper but goalkeeper Gonda was ready for the task at hand and dealt with it exceptionally.

Japan had lost their only FIFA World Cup match that went to extra time - 5-4 on penalties against Paraguay in 2010 last 16.

The second half had a little different feel. With the help of Perisic's header, Croatia did well to reenter the contest. Following that, there were many changes, and the level decreased.

Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic caught the ball to stop a good Japan spell toward the end of the first half of the extra time.

Croatia had the last chance of the match as Lovro Majer had the ball just outside the box and dragged his shot wide.

In penalties, Japan missed three penalties out of the four taken, while Croatia missed only one.

"They gave us a hard game, but we knew that would be the case, it´s not coincidence that they beat Germany and Spain. We had more chances and I think we deserved to win," said Nikola Vlasic after the game.

"We beat Germany, we beat Spain... If we take confidence in that, and if we think about overtaking these teams rather than just catching up, the future is bright."

Croatia will next clash with either Brazil or South Korea, who will take on each other in the round of 16.