Croatia beat Japan 3-1 (1-1) on penalties Monday to reach the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Japan’s Shogo Taniguchi’s header from close range missed the goal in the third minute at Al Janoub Stadium.
Ivan Perisic of Croatia wasted a promising one-on-one position as Japanese goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda blocked his shot in the eighth minute.
Japanese attackers couldn’t touch the dangerous cross of Junya Ito in front of the goal in the 12th minute.
Japanese attacker Daichi Kamada’s shot from close range missed the Croatia goal in the 41st minute.
Maeda drew first blood in the 43rd minute by finishing from the six-yard box, and the first half ended 1-0.
In the second half, Kamada tried his luck from a distance in the 46th minute.
Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic missed the goal by inches in the 49th minute.
Perisic leveled the score with an accurate header in the 55th minute. He netted his 33rd goal for Croatia, which equalized his goals for Croatia with Mario Mandzukic, the country’s number two goal scorer, after Davor Suker’s 45 goals. Perisic also became Croatia’s joint leading World Cup top scorer with six goals, the same as Suker.
Endo’s long-range shot was tipped over by Croatia goalie Dominik Livakovic in the 58th minute.
Croatia skipper Luka Modric’s long-range shot was blocked well by Gonda in the 63rd minute.
Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric’s header was close in the 66th minute.
Perisic’s long-range effort was blocked off to a corner in the 77th minute.
Mario Pasalic missed a promising header in the 86th minute, and the game ended 1-1 to go to extra time.
Three goal attempts in a row by Japan were deflected to a corner by Croatia’s goalkeeper and defense in the 105th minute and the first half of extra time ended 1-1.
Lovro Majer’s long shot was wide in the 121st minute, and the second half of the extra time ended 1-1 as well.
Croatia won the penalty shootout 3-1, qualifying it for the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.
Japan missed the chance to qualify for their maiden World Cup quarterfinal while Croatia will take on the winner of the Brazil-South Korea match in the quarterfinal round.
Source: Anadolu Agency