Croatia defeats Japan by penalty kicks and book a place in the quarterfinals

Dominik Livakovic made three saves in the penalty-kick shootout to help Croatia move to the quarterfinals and eliminate Japan following a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes of regulation.

Croatia won 3-1 after Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mario Pasalic converted penalty kicks against Japan goalie Shuichi Gonda. The 2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia won two matches on penalty kicks in route to its second-place finish.


Japan, who overcame deficits to overcome Germany and Spain in the group stage, held the lead at halftime for the first time in this year’s tournament. The Samurai Blue scored in the 43rd minute from a corner kick when Daizen Maeda buried a shot into the back of the net after receiving a pass from Maya Yoshida.

The advantage was short-lived against an experienced Croatian side, who proceeded to the knockout round by virtue of two scoreless draws and a 4-1 thrashing of Canada. Ivan Perisic scored the equalizer for Croatia with a header from a Dejan Lovren ball in the 55th minute.

In extra time, Japan had the greatest opportunity, but Livakovic deflected Kaoru Mitoma’s right-footed shot over the crossbar. During penalty kicks, Livakovic made a far more difficult diving save against Mitoma.

Brazil and Croatia will meet in the quarterfinals.

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