Croatia beat Brazil to return to World Cup semi-finals


Al Rayyan, Qatar — They’ve done it again. Croatia, four years after a spectacular run to the final Russia are back in world Cup beat Brazil in the semi-finals 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, to knock out the tournament favourites. they will face either Netherlands either Argentina next week.

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Brazil, and the thousands of yellow-shirted fans who packed Education City Stadium, were stunned. Marquinhos fell to the ground in shock after the Croatian goalkeeper overturned the decisive penalty at the left post. dominik livkovichLed his teammates on a spectacular sprint towards the middle of the field.

After a lot of effort, it seemed that Brazil had the game in hand. neymarThe goal looked to be the decider at the end of the first period of extra time, but Croatia did not budge. Mislav Orsik brought the ball down the left and cut it back bruno petkovich, whose left-footed strike took a deflection and went into the back of the net in the 117th minute. (It was also Croatia’s first shot on target.)

When rodrigo Brazil’s first effort in the shootout was saved by Livakovic, Croatia had command and didn’t let go. Orsik’s fourth penalty was drilled perfectly into the left corner; Marquinhos then tried a repeat, but was not accurate enough. Brazil out. Croatia were – again – through.

jump to: player ratings , Best/Worst Performers , Highlights and Notable Moments , postmatch quotes , key figures , upcoming fixtures

Swift response

1. Levakovic gives his team a chance — and they take it

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic called Brazil’s depth “scary” in preparation for this quarter-final, but then qualified it by saying his team should not be intimidated. Why not? He had a game plan he believed in and a goalie as his life.

After leading Croatia via shootout win Japan Levakovic was even more impressive here, with three saves in the Round of 16. Delic organized his team in an effort to hold the ball and reduce the Brazilian’s break ability – which largely worked – but there were always going to be cracks. And Livacovich filled almost all of them.

Yes, josip juranovic And josco guardiol The Brazilians squandered a lot of chances, but Livakovic was the backstop. He tied a Croatian World Cup record with nine saves, including Neymar (more than once) and crucial stops. lucas paquetaAlso an incredible reaction stop from Guardiol, who turned the ball into his own net just after half-time.

Without him, Petkovic’s shot – Croatia’s first attempt on target of the game – would have mattered at all. With him, he was everything.

2. Neymar equals Pele’s record – but it’s not enough

As they arrived at the stadium about 90 minutes before kick-off, Neymar was the only player to leave the Brazilian bus wearing sunglasses (he even put them on once inside the stadium) and he joined in, just a moment later. For, Vinicius Jr. Dancing his way into the dressing room. Despite the pressure of being favourites, Brazil have tried to enjoy the tournament.

However, the match was a work in progress, and Brazil spent most of it stunned. The Croatian defense repeatedly collapsed on Neymar, Vinicius Junior could never get on and richardson – who has been one of the players of the tournament – was hardly a factor. after the end of the rope South Korea, Brazil’s attack remained sluggish all night. At the end of 90 minutes, Neymar swiped on the grass in exasperation.

Neymar had his moment of genius: The Brazilian had tried his one-two routine several times before with no success, but this time it was a complete success. Few players would have the presence of sliding to the side of Livakovic, staying upright and finishing from Neymar’s angle, but the Brazilian superstar made it look effortless and tied Pelé with 77 international goals, the most by a Brazilian in history. Is.

A major honor for Neymar, for sure. But one night he would surely prefer to forget.

3. How far can Modric and Croatia go?

if it ends luka modricThe final World Cup – and he had already said so before the tournament – the 37-year-old will leave his sport’s biggest stage after two of the game’s most remarkable runs.

Russia’s second-place finish at the World Cup was historic, and Croatia’s performance here has been hard to fathom: come-from-behind victory Canada and grinding with deadlock belgium In the group stage to qualify, then a strong and steady performance against Japan, the Cinderella of the tournament, to reach the last eight before Brazil were eliminated on Friday.

It seems like the Croatia should be exhausted – eight of their last nine knockout matches in major tournaments took 120 minutes – but somehow they just keep rolling. Modric’s motor still rumbles in midfield, the defense has been brick solid and it always seems like they always find a way to face the moment.

They will probably be underdogs against Netherlands or Argentina but… would you pick against them this time?

Player Rating (1 = worst, 10 = best)

Croatia: Dominic Livkovic 8, Josip Juranovic 8, dejan lauren 7, Josco Guardiol 7, borna sosa 7, Luka Modric 8, Marcelo Brozovic 8, Mateo Kovacic 8, mario pasalik 7, Lady Kramrick 6, Ivan Perisic 7.

later stages, Nikola Vlasic 6, Bruno Petkovic 7, lovro major 6, ante budimir 6.

Brazil: Alison 6, Eder Militao 8, Marquinhos 7, Thiago Silva 7, Danilo 7, Lucas Paqueta 7, casemiro 7, Rafinha 6, Neymar 8, Vinicius Jnr 6, Richardson 6.

sub: Antoine 6, Rodrigo 6, pedro 6, Fred 6, Alex Sandro 6.

best and worst performers

Best: Dominic Levakovic

It wasn’t the highlight of the shootout against Japan, but the Croatian goalkeeper used his feet, his hands and whatever else he needed to wear down Brazil for most of the night and keep his team in the game. .

Worst: Marquinhos

It seems cruel to tag him with it but when you miss the penalty that knocks your team out of the competition, after being part of a defense that conceded defeat so late in the game, it’s hard to look elsewhere. a cruel end.

Highlights and Notable Moments

Neymar launched an attack near the end of the first period of extra time, and finished off a brilliant team move to score the opening goal.

But, despite Brazil scoring the only goal of the tournament in extra time, Croatia’s late leveler took the match to penalties, where Marquinhos’ kick hit the post and sent his team out.

After the match: What the players and managers said

Brazin midfielder Casemiro: “Losing always hurts, especially when you have a goal, a dream and you’ve worked for it for years. From four years to today. That’s why it’s hard to find words right now. Now We have to choose. Our heads are up. Life goes on. We’re sad, I’m sure everyone in the group did their best. We’re upset the way it happened. It was in our hands and it slipped right through Gone. This is a difficult moment. But we are calm and we know that life goes on.”

Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Info)

It was the 26th match to end 0-0 at half time. Only in the 1990 World Cup there were more 0–0 matches in half time (28).

Dominik Livkovic’s nine saves set a new record for a Croatia goalkeeper at the World Cup. In the 1998 third-place play-off against the Netherlands, Dražen Ladic made seven saves. tied with Livacovich poland‘s wojciech szczesny For most saves in a match in the 2022 World Cup.

It was Croatia’s fifth World Cup match to go into extra time. Overall, eight of Croatia’s last nine knockout matches in major tournaments have gone to extra time.

As well as equaling Pele’s tally of 77 goals, Neymar’s first open-play goal for his country since October 2021 joined Ronaldo as Brazilian men with the most goals in three different FIFA World Cups Happened.

Bruno Petkovic’s 117th-minute equalizer was Croatia’s most recent World Cup goal ever, and the latest equalizer in World Cup history. It was also Croatia’s first shot on target.

Brazil had won three of their last four World Cup matches, losing only against France In 1986.

Croatia have won all four of their World Cup penalty shootout matches Germany As the teams with the most wins without losing a single shootout.

Brazil has been eliminated in five straight FIFA World Cup knockout stage games versus European opponents.

Croatia has reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in all three of their quarter-final appearances (1998, 2018, 2022).


Croatia: Modric and Co. are now preparing for a big semi-final clash against either Argentina or the Netherlands on Tuesday, 13 December at the iconic Lusail Stadium.

Brazil: Seleção Back home without any international events scheduled for 2023 as of now. Which is probably just as well, because this result will take some getting over.

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