Levakovic put in a man of the match performance with 10 saves in 120 minutes before the stoppage. rodrigoPenalty in shootout.
Croatia needed a penalty in the 116th minute to equalize and Livakovic afterwards praised the spirit shown in securing their second successive World Cup semi-final. He said, ‘We are fighters and we played our heart out.’
“We are happy about it but we are taking it one match at a time and we will see where it takes us. We are experienced and we have been nurtured as fighters. We leave no stone unturned.”
“It is one of our biggest victories,” said coach Zlatko Dalić, whose team will now face either Argentina or the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
“We demonstrated what it means to never surrender and showed what Croatia is and what Croatia team is. We are a small country and won against one of the favorites in the World Cup.
“They are great fighters and only Croats can do that. Now we are in another semi-final and we must not surrender. Croatia has shown something that not many teams can show.”
Eight of Croatia’s last nine knockout games in major tournaments have now gone to extra time – a run dating back to Euro 2008.
They have won only one game in Qatar in normal times, but have secured their place in the semi-finals by reaching the final in 2018, where they were beaten by France.
Dalik said, “Our character is very strong and we do not give up.”
“I believe that only teams with great and strong character can come back and it has become normal for us. Strength of character is a part of our team.”
“I am quite clear that people are surprised by our performance for the second time in a row, it is very extraordinary.
“I wanted to pass the group stage and take it one step at a time and we wanted to show patience. Now we are in the semi-finals, it is not normal.
“We have confidence in ourselves. Croatia is indeed a surprise but it should have been less surprising.”