Croatia had their own hero to eliminate Japan on penalties

With a fantastic performance by their goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic in the penalty shootout, where he saved three of the four shots taken against him, the Croatian team beat Japan and qualified for the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar. The task of the Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper marked the difference between the Croats and the Japanese, who once again showed great evolution, although the poor aim in the shots from the penalty spot ended up paying for it with the elimination.

The 1-1 in the regulation 90, which was later extended into overtime, marked the merits of each one throughout the game. The Croats showed something more in the first half, but Japan was the most incisive in that passage and found the advantage at the end of the stage, when Daizen Maeda took advantage of a rebound in the area to score the partial 1-0.

Croatia reacted in the second half and equalized with a fantastic header from Perisic, who put the ball away from Gonda’s stretch. But without freshness in his veterans, he saw how Japan went on to dominate the actions in the last stretch of the match. For this reason, DT Zlatko Dalic had no qualms about taking out historical figures such as Modric, Kovacic, Kramaric and Perisic and introducing new blood to regain control in the second overtime. However, the Balkans collided with the safety of Gonda and went to the definition on penalties.

With no room for error, Livakovic took center stage, holding off shots from Minamino and Mitoma to give his team the lead. And just as Japan could close again after Livaja’s shot hit the post, the 27-year-old kept Yoshida’s shot to begin celebrating their passage to the quarterfinals.

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