Croatia stun Brazil in penalty shootout
Croatia managed to eliminate Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup. The World Cup runners-up won the penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.
Croatia beat tournament favorite and #1 world-ranked Brazil 1-1 (4-2) in a gut-wrenching penalty kick shootout.
Friday night’s first 90 minutes saw repeated Brazilian attacks and shots on goal, several by star forward Neymar. But each one was repelled by stout Croatian defense or Livaković. In the second half alone, Brazil had ten shots on goal.
But for all its highlight grabbing offense, Brazil’s defense is, and was, outstanding as well. Brazil also had given up only two goals in the tournament leading up to Friday, and its defense didn’t even let Croatia get close enough for quality scoring chances. They only attempted three in the second half, and none were on target.
But finally, Brazil broke through in stoppage time of the first half of extra time. Another relentless charge at the Croatian goal paid off for Neymar, as he and Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paquetá worked a beautiful give-and-go play. Neymar passed to Paquetá, who passed it back, and then it was a matter of Neymar creating the opening around Livaković, who slid at the ball while Neymar darted to the side and chipped in the score.
The goal, the 77th of Neymar’s career, tied him with the legendary star Pelé for most international goals by a Brazilian men’s player. Relieved Brazilian fans roared their approval from Education City Stadium in Doha to Rio de Janeiro.
In the 117th minute, Croatia went on the attack, and from the left side of the field, forward Mislav Oršić sent a crossing pass to the middle. Another forward, Bruno Petković, collected and fired in a left-footed shot for the equalizer.
From there, it was on to the not-for-the-faint-of-heart shootout, stunningly won by the team in their own iconic red-checked jerseys. For Brazil, it was their sixth loss at the quarterfinals. Four of those defeats have come during the last five World Cups.
Neymar (105’+1′), Petkovic (116′)