Past masters at this, Croatia received every other penalty shootout with goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic pulling off 3 saves to overcome Japan and input the quarter-finals. The consequences through Takumi Minamino, Kauro Mitoma and Maya Yoshida had been deficient however Croatia did not care, their exultation encapsulated through Luka Modric hiking on his goalkeeper and kissing his brow. Modric lives, the runners-up do too.
Daizen Maeda’s forty third minute purpose for Japan was once canceled through Ivan Perisic within the fifty fifth and with Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mario Pasalic changing their consequences, Marko Livaja’s hitting the publish did not topic. For Japan handiest Takuma Asano transformed his shot.
So centered had been Croatia in coping with crosses, particularly from the best through the spectacular Ritsu Doan, that right-back Josip Juranovic homed in on a supply even supposing there was once no transparent and provide risk. What will have been an embarrassing personal purpose along with his goalkeeper stranded within the space he was once meant to boss over resulted in a nook kick. Japan performed it lengthy and it was once cleared for every other nook. This time they performed it brief and went forward 1-0.
Doan performed it to Daichi Kamada who discovered Junya Ito ahead of the ball got here again to the spectacular Japan ahead. Doan swung it in and the ball ricocheted off Yoshida and was once simply out of achieve of Josko Gvardiol when Maeda knocked it house. For the primary time in 4 video games, Japan had been main.
They had begun with the vigor that has been a part of this marketing campaign. With 19 of the 26 avid gamers based totally in Europe, it is a crew that has come some distance from the squad of J-League avid gamers Japan took to the 1998 World Cup, their first.
Successful round-of-16 berths may be evidence of the growth made through the nationwide crew of a rustic that has a 100-year plan in position to win the World Cup. Japan weren’t intimidated through the runners-up of 2018 and having notched up come-from-behind wins towards Germany and Spain why would they be?
Doan’s free-kick in the second one minute fetched a nook after which Japan pressed Livakovic however the Croatia goalkeeper controlled to get himself out of hassle. Another Doan supply swung around the Croatia purpose with neither Kamada nor Yuto Nagamoto managing a marginally regardless of determined slides.
Meada’s purpose got here all the way through a passage of play when Japan had been dominant, their refusal to surrender summed up through a forty first minute transfer that wanted a again heel through Junya Ito to stay the ball ahead of Maeda fell, were given as much as beat a participant however shanked his shot. With a again 3 and wing backs Ito and Nagamoto stretching the sphere and discovering the extensive avid gamers, Japan centered at the facets as an alternative of the middle to take a look at and spoil Croatia.
Croatia will have Modric, Perisic and the intense Gvardiol however Japan additionally had the talent – as proven through Ito killing a protracted ball with one contact, through Wataru Endo’s power from vary that Livakovic tipped over and Nagamoto shielding a ball from Perisic ahead of clearing – the velocity and not lose the spring of their strides.
It resulted in a competition in contrasts. Croatia had been affected person of their try to to find house, Japan was once like a storm. Maybe as a result of Croatia had been used to video games stretching past legislation time, six in their remaining seven in knockout rounds have, perhaps as a result of the revel in of over-30 avid gamers and perhaps as a result of they’ve Modric, who was once given a rousing send-off within the 99th Minutes at Al Janoub Stadium, Croatia had been calm. It was once like they’d advance caution of a storm and therefore may reduce harm.
And attempt to motive a few of their very own. Perisic stole from Takehiro Tomiyasu, who changed the suspended Kou Itakura within the again 3, however his shot within the 8th minute was once stored through Shuichi Gonda. Gvardiol’s ball from deep handed the 2 strains of protection and reached Bruno Petkovic, who changed Marko Livaja as Croatia appeared for potency in entrance, having scored handiest in a single sport within the event. But he could not beat Gonda.
Even the equalizer took place as a result of Perisic stayed a step in the back of and produced an impressive header whilst the defenders moved forward.
Tomiyasu’s leg protecting out a Perisic effort within the 78th minute and Modric’s volley from distance palmed over through Gonda took the sport to extra-time. By the time consequences had been wanted, Croatia had 4 makes an attempt not off course, the similar as Japan.