World Cup 2022: Croatia outlasts Japan in thrilling PK shoot-out

Al Wakrah, Qatar - Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livaković made three epic saves in a dramatic penalty shoot-out as the 2018 finalists ended Japan's stunning run at the FIFA World Cup on Monday 3-1 for a place in the quarter-finals.

Croatia is heading to the Qatar World Cup quarter-finals after defeating Japan in PKs on Monday.
Croatia is heading to the Qatar World Cup quarter-finals after defeating Japan in PKs on Monday.  © Collage: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

Livakovic saved the spot kicks from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida. After Marko Livaja hit the post. Mario Pašalić clinched victory for Croatia.

The score was locked at 1-1 after 120 minutes of play.

Japan led thanks to a goal by Daizen Maeda shortly before half-time as the Samurai Blue seemed on course towards another shock after beating former champions Germany and Spain 2-1 in the group stage.

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But Ivan Perišić headed a 55th-minute equalizer against the flow of play and eventual success in the first match of the tournament which went beyond 90 minutes.

Croatia managed to reach the World Cup's last eight for the third time, with the first two runs taking place in 1998 and 2018. On Friday, they will face either record five-time champions Brazil or South Korea, who will face off on Monday.

Meanwhile, Japan missed a first-ever quarter-final berth for the third time, having lost on penalties against Paraguay in 2010, and 3-2 in stoppage time against Belgium in 2018 after leading 2-0.

Croatia had needed extra time in all three knock-out games en route to the 2018 final, which they lost 4-2 against France in 90 minutes.

Cover photo: Collage: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

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