Croatia produce a World Cup miracle to stun Brazil on penalties

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Croatia produce a World Cup miracle to stun Brazil on penalties
Updated
Croatia stun Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals
Croatia stun Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals
StatsPerform, AFP
Croatia produced an incredible upset to knock Brazil out of the World Cup, as they continued to show that they just do not know when they are beaten. Neymar scored an incredible goal in extra time, and it looked like he had won them the game. However, Bruno Petkovic equalised with minutes to go, and Dominik Livakovic was once again the hero in the penalty shoot-out, saving Rodrygo's penalty and forcing Marquinhos into a miss, while Croatia scored all of theirs.

If that's a taste of what is to come, then I cannot wait for the next quarter-finals. Argentina take on the Netherlands in an hour, and we will be following that too.

Check out our match report of this game, and get yourselves ready for what we hope is another World Cup classic. See you in a bit.

Croatia 1-1 Brazil (4-2 AET)

If you don't enjoy football, I honestly feel bad for you. Never does it cease to produce the most spectacular moments. Croatia just didn't look like scoring a goal. Brazil led with five minutes left, but Petkovic produced their golden moment with their one big chance. Neymar had earlier scored the most sensational goal, but in the end, it meant nothing. Was that his last ever World Cup?

Croatia just don't know when they are beaten. They battle with everything they have, and just find a way through, no matter the odds. Their penalties were brilliant, Livakovic was superb in goal, and they are in another World Cup semi final.

The Brazilian players are absolutely devastated. They cannot believe it. They were on the verge of making it through to the next round, but had it snatched away from them at the death. They probably could have been a bit better in the 90 minutes though, and generally lacked that cutting edge. Questions will be asked about why Neymar didn't take a penalty, but we all know that he was going to take the fifth penalty. No point starting that debate again. All in all, Croatia have produced a seismic upset. They have knocked out Brazil.

Penalties

Croatia 4-2 Brazil: MARQUINHOS MISSES! HE HITS THE POST! BRAZIL ARE OUT! CROATIA HAVE DONE IT!

Croatia 4-2 Brazil: ANOTHER BRILLIANT PENALTY! ORSIC! Into the side netting, so good.

Croatia 3-2 Brazil: PEDRO SCORES! Cheeky run up, and cool as you like.

Croatia 3-1 Brazil: MODRIC SCORES! SO COOL! PLACED IN! 

Croatia 2-1 Brazil: CASEMIRO THUMPS HOME! EMPHATIC!

Croatia 2-0 Brazil: MAJER SCORES! AGAIN, DOWN THE MIDDLE! ADVANTAGE CROATIA!

Croatia 1-0 Brazil: RODRYGO MISSES! LIVAKOVIC IS THE MAN AGAIN! 

Croatia 1-0 Brazil: Vlasic thumps straight down the middle. Good start.

Croatia 1-1 Brazil

What an incredible 30 minutes. You just cannot ever, ever rule out Croatia. They continue to battle to the very last. And that goal from Neymar. Wow. Who will hold their nerve now?

Extra Time

122': Thiago Silva has a strike saved comfortably by Livakovic from a corner. A save he is expected to make, but regardless, he has been unreal today. And the final whistle blows. We are going to penalties.

Full time stats
StatsPerform

117': NO WAY! NO WAY! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM! CROATIA HAVE EQUALISED! OH MY GOD, OUT OF ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, CROATIA HAVE DRAWN LEVEL. THROWING MEN FORWARD, PETKOVIC FINDS HIMSELF IN THE PENALTY AREA. THE BALL ARRIVES TO HIM, AND HIS SHOT DEFLECTS OFF MARQUINHOS INTO THE NET! FOOTBALL, EH?

114': Mislav Orsic now on for Croatia. Brozovic off. Croatia really struggling now. I'm not sure where a goal comes from.

110': Croatia take off Sosa, Ante Budimir comes on.

My word. That's half time in extra time. What a goal. What can Croatia do to respond to that? Brazil bring on Alex Sandro and Fred, and take off Paqueta and Militao. Croatia take off Kovacic, and bring on Lovro Majer. We are off again.

106': NEYYMMMMMAARRRRRRR ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! OH MY WORD, THAT IS WHY HE IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD! HE DRIVES AT THE CROATIAN DEFENCE, PLAYS A GORGEOUS ONE-TWO WITH PAQUETA, AND FINDS HIMSELF IN THE BOX. HE THEN BEATS A CROATIAN DEFENDER, GOES AROUND LIVAKOVIC, AND SMASHES THE BALL INTO THE BACK OF THE NET! SUCH STRENGTH AND COMPOSURE. WOW, WOW, WOW. HE HAS BEEN REALLY POOR ALL GAME, BUT THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WHAT HE IS CAPABLE OF. 

103': WHAT A CHANCE FOR BROZOVIC! OH MY! PETKOVIC DOES AMAZINGLY WELL WITH A STUNNING PIECE OF SKILL TO BEAT TWO BRAZILIAN PLAYERS. HE SQUARES IT FOR BROZOVIC IN THE PENALTY AREA, BUT HE SKIES IT OVER THE BAR. WHAT A MOMENT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN.

97': Antony has been excellent since coming on. Brazil are really knocking at the door, and it feels like if the goal comes, it'll come from him.

90': And we are underway. 30 additional minutes.

Croatia 0-0 Brazil

Brazil have struggled to find a way through this Croatian defence. Livakovic has been superb in goal, but the Brazilians' end product could most definitely have been better. But ultimately, Croatia have got what they wanted. The stats tell us that Croatia just do not lose when it goes to extra time.

Full time statistics for Croatia - Brazil
StatsPerform

Second Half

94': Ant that's full time. We have the third extra time of this tournament. And we all know Croatia's record when it goes the distance...

86': Militao flashes a shot wide, courtesy of a deflection. They are going for it now. It's just got that next goal wins feel about it.

84': Richarlison is coming off for Brazil now, Pedro replaces him.

80': Paqueta has a shot, but it is straight at Livakovic. Brazil definitely upping the intensity. They do not want extra time. Antony has been good since he has come on.

76': Neymar manages to get through, but his shot is saved by Livakovic. It was a bit of a tight angle to be fair.

71': Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic are coming on for Croatia, Kramaric and Pasalic are off.

66': BIG SAVE FROM LIVAKOVC! WHAT A TOURNAMENT HE IS HAVING! Brazil get fortunate, with the ball deflecting into the path of Paqueta. The midfielder finds himself in front of goal, but the Croatian makes himself big and stops his shot.

64': Another change for Brazil. Rodrygo is coming on for Vini Jr. - who has been much quieter after starting the game well. Juranovic has been superb up against him. Still surprising to see him replaced when Paqueta has been so poor today though.

56': Brazil make a change. Antony is on, Raphinha off.

55': Big, big chance for Neymar squandered. Richarlison does well, and plays a ball through to Neymar. With the goal gaping, he scuffs his shot straight at Livakovic.

47': Gvardiol so nearly turns the ball into his own net. A cross is put into the box, the centre-back deflects it towards goal, but Livakovic makes a good reflex save with his feet. Brazil continue forward and Vini Jr's shot is saved, but the flag goes up for offside. Good start.

45': Right then, the second half begins. Can Brazil find a way to gain control of the midfield battle?

Half Time

Croatia have been really intelligent and measured so far, totally shutting out Brazil. They aren't allowing their midfield to get going at all, putting Neymar and Paqueta under pressure by congesting the centre of the pitch. They are doing so well in exploiting a midfield with little defensive prowess, with Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic at times controlling the game. However, when they get a chance, they just lack that quality in the final third. Juranovic has been top, top class from right back, bombing up and down that side of the pitch.

Brazil just haven't been able to get into this game at all, besides Vini Jr, who has been really good. They might look to bring in another central midfielder to control the middle of the park, and push Neymar forward a bit more. Let's wait and see what happens. 

Half time stats
StatsPerform

First Half

45': That's half time. A really, really quiet game. Croatia have totally nullified Brazil.

40': Brazil's midfield is struggling with the technical ability of Croatia's so far, with Casemiro as the lone defensive-minded midfielder, and Paqueta and Neymar spending a lot of the game around the opponent's penalty area. As well as that, Croatia are clearly targeting the right hand side of the pitch. Vini Jr. and Neymar tend to ignore their defensive duties, and as a result, Danilo is left to fend for himself. Juranovic has been superb and is causing the Brazilians all sorts of problems.

Croatia attacking thirds
StatsPerform, Profimedia

25': A very high foot from Danilo results in a booking. That looked quite dangerous. Perhaps he's lucky he got a foot on the ball first.

21': Brazil haven't looked sharp so far, but the same can't be said for Vini Jr. He's been their brightest spark in the first 20 minutes, and he has just had a shot which was blocked by Gvardiol.

13': A cross is whipped in by Pasalic, but Perisic can't make proper contact with the ball. A better strike there, and Brazil might have been in trouble. Decent chance. Croatia settling into the game a little better than Brazil.

11': Both teams just feeling each other out so far, like the early rounds of a heavyweight fight. Not too much to comment on.

0': Here we go then. Croatia kick off the first match of a blockbuster double-header.

Team News:

Brazil name an unchanged line-up from the last 16 for their World Cup quarter-final against Croatia on Friday, with first-choice left back Alex Sandro on the bench as he has not fully recovered from injury. 

Right back Danilo will once again start on the left side of defence with Real Madrid centre back Eder Militao, who replaced Danilo at right back against Switzerland and played in the South Korea game, to play the same role against Croatia.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic makes two changes to his team with Borna Sosa returning to the lineup after missing their last 16 match against Japan through illness, while forward Bruno Petkovic gives way to Mario Pasalic to strengthen the midfield.

Croatia: Dominik Livakovic, Borna Sosa, Ivan Perisic, Dejan Lovren, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Josko Gvardiol, Josip Juranovic

Brazil: Alisson; Eder Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo, Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta, Neymar, Vinicius Jr., Raphinha, Richarlison

Introduction

Croatia are daring to dream again after coming through a gruelling last 16 tie against Japan on penalties, with goalkeeper Dominik Livaković the hero as he became just the third goalkeeper to save three spot-kicks in a World Cup shootout. Zlatko Dalić’s Croatia side now appear in the quarter-finals for the third time, and having progressed to the semi-finals in their previous two World Cup quarter-final ties, they have proved their credentials at this stage of late.

The 2018 World Cup runners up have relied on their big game experience at this tournament to pull them through some lethargic performances, but their form remains impressive, losing just once since their elimination from Euro 2020 last summer (W13, D6). That run should see confidence high, and given Croatia’s only loss at the World Cup since 2014 came to France in the final four years ago, they’re certainly a tough nut to crack on international football’s biggest stage.

If there’s a side that can break them open though it’s surely Brazil, who are among the leading candidates to win the trophy after they produced a mesmeric performance to demolish South Korea 4-1 in the round of 16. Tite’s men rattled in all four of their goals in a devastating first half that allowed Brazil to slip into second gear and preserve energy by withdrawing some of their big hitters ahead of this quarter-final clash with the Croatians.

The record five-time world champions boast a dominant H2H record, winning both World Cup clashes against Croatia while avoiding defeat in two other meetings (W1, D1). If there is a slight knock to Brazil’s confidence though, it likely stems from their poor recent record against European opposition in the knockouts, with all of their five exits from the World Cup after 1990 coming at the hands of European sides.