Croatia Knocks Brazil Out of the World Cup

Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup by Croatia, who defeated the five-time champions 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the teams were tied after 120 minutes of play.

After defeating Japan on penalties in the round of 16, the runners-up from last year survived their second straight shootout and will now take on either the Netherlands or Argentina, who are scheduled to play later.

Brazilian sensation Neymar felt he had won the match when he rifled home an extra-time goal for the five-time world winners during a tense and dramatic evening.

However, instead of defending their advantage, they went in search of a second, and as a result, they were penalised when Bruno Petkovic, a replacement for Croatia, scored an equaliser with his left foot three minutes into extra time, breaking Brazilian hearts.

At the end of a tight first half on Friday at the Education City Stadium, there was little separating tournament favourites Brazil and Croatia. Both teams had half-chance opportunities in a loose game, but nothing decisive.

If anything, after 13 minutes, Ivan Perisic could only mistime a whipping Mario Pasalic cross past Alisson’s goalpost, giving Croatia the finest opportunity of the half.

The Brazilians had a much stronger start to the second half and came near once more in the 66th minute when Lucas Paqueta was stopped by Livakovic. The Brazilians have now lost four of their previous five World Cup quarterfinal matches, all to European opponents.

After a VAR review, claims for a handball by defender Josip Juranovic were rejected before Richarlison put Neymar through in the 55th minute, but Livakovic stopped his close-range attempt.

The Croatian goalkeeper had already made seven stops in the game—more than his Brazilian counterpart Alisson had made in the entire tournament—and Neymar was stopped once more in the 76th minute.

Five minutes later, a second Paqueta shot was parried by Livakovic as the few hundred Brazil supporters in the crowd got restless and louder, forcing the game into overtime with Tite looking obviously anxious.

After a scoreless 90 minutes, Brazil took a 1-0 lead with a bit of extra time solo magic from Neymar.

He started the attack from outside the box, used two one-two passes in quick succession to confuse the weary Croatian defense, and then rounded the goalkeeper to tie Brazilian legend Pele’s record of 77 goals across all competitions.

But tenacious Croatia wouldn’t give up, and Bruno Petkovic’s goal in the 117th minute gave them an equalizer.

After Livakovic stopped Rodrygo’s spot-kick and Marquinos hit the post, they won the shootout, leaving Neymar and his teammates inconsolable.

Croatia, which is vying for their first world championship, scored four penalties, all of which were converted by Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Luka Modric, and Mislav Orsic.

Later tonight’s games between Argentina and the Netherlands will determine who they play next.

Written by Team Neemopani


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