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Japan vs Croatia, FIFA World Cup 2022 Highlights: Livakovic shootout hero as Vatreni reach quarterfinal

Al Wakrah (Qatar), December 5: Dominik Livakovic became Croatia's latest penalty shootout hero as the 2018 runners up beat Japan 3-1 from the spot after a turgid 1-1 draw in the FIFA World Cup 2022 round of 16 match at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakhrah on Monday (December 5).

Japan had taken the lead through Daizen Maeda in the first half before Ivan Perisic equalised in the second half to force the match into extra time and eventually the penalty shootout.

In the shootout, Goalkeeper Livakovic saved spot-kicks from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida to send Croatia through to the quarter-finals.

Danijel Subasic had likewise kept out three penalties in a last-16 shoot-out during a run to the final in Russia four years ago, with Croatia now having won each of their three World Cup knockout ties that have gone all the way.

An entertaining start was not an indicator of what was to come. Shogo Taniguchi headed wide at one end and Perisic was denied at the other, but there was not another clear-cut chance until the opener two minutes before half-time.

Ritsu Doan's cross following a short corner reached the centre of the area, where Maya Yoshida's attempt at a shot succeeded instead in teeing up Maeda for a close-range finish.

Croatia had not looked like crafting a goal of their own, but they were level 10 minutes after the restart when Perisic met Dejan Lovren's delivery with a superb header into the bottom-right corner.

Although Ante Budimir soon nodded off target, opportunities remained scarce and Lovro Majer dragged wide with the final kick of extra time to condemn the tie to penalties.

Livakovic kept out Japan's first two attempts, with his save from Mitoma particularly impressive, and Croatia could ease through even with Marko Livaja clipping a dreadful effort against the post.

What next after Japan vs Croatia?

The 2018 runners up Croatia will next face the winner of the round of 16 match between Brazil and South Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday (December 9), while Japan head home after heartbreaking loss.

Source: OPTA

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Story first published: Monday, December 5, 2022, 23:47 [IST]
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