After a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, Croatia defeated Japan 3-1 on penalties, with Dominik Livakovic making three saves. As a result, Croatia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals.
Japan sought to defeat their third straight European opponent after shocking victories over Germany and Spain in the group stages. It was the first knockout game to play an additional 30 minutes in Qatar.Both goals were scored after the half. After some shaky Croatian defence, Daizen Maeda (43) took Japan the lead in the first half. Ivan Perisic’s (55) powerful header levelled the score shortly after the break.
The fact that the game went into extra time may not have come as a huge surprise because seven of Croatia’s past eight knockout games at major competitions required the extra time, with their most recent defeat being to Spain in the round of 16 of Euro 2020 last summer.
Again, there wasn’t much to choose between the two teams in extra time, with Kaoru Mitoma and Lovro Majer coming closest for their respective nations. As a result, it was only fair that the teams would be split by a random series of penalties.
Despite their outstanding performance throughout the competition, three of Japan’s penalties were mistakenly executed and easily saved by goalie Livakovic. Croatia only missed one of their four penalty kicks, making the other three to go to the quarterfinals for the third time in a row.