The epic of Japan stops in the round of 16 for the fourth time in their history. After the penalty shootout, the Japanese lost to Croatia (1-1, 1-3 tab). The Croats will face the winner of Brazil-South Korea. After England yesterday, it was Croatia’s turn on Monday, December 5 to shatter a dream. The Croats overcame the valiant “Samurai Blue” of Japan, who fell at the end of the penalty shootout.
Japan opens the scoring
The Japanese had not yet trembled to win a historic place in the quarterfinals. The Japanese enter the game better, more aggressive, and more determined than the Croats. Taniguchi headed a warning shot that fled the frame (3′). Ivan Perisic responds with a curling shot that Gonda intercepts (7th).
Inevitably, Croatia ends up bringing danger in front of the Japanese goal. After a high recovery, Barisic places a cross from the left side. Perisic extends with a header at the near post, then Kramaric is countered in extremis by the Japanese defense when he was about to resume at the far post (28th).
For “Samurai Blue”, the solution finally comes from a set piece. On their fifth corner of the game, they try a fourth different combination. This opens the Croatian safe. Played in three stages, the center of Doan finds Yoshida, who returns to Maeda, who shoots Livakovic at close range (43rd, 1-0).
Croatia reacts as soon as the locker room returns. On a perfect cross from Lovren, Perisic beats Ito and Tomiyasu to adjust a superb cross header. Gonda is beaten on his left (55th, 1-1). The Croatian’s tenth achievement in a World Cup makes him the top scorer in the history of the Croatian selection.
Japan lay siege to the cage of Livakovic, who is impeccable to repel the heavy strike from Mitoma (105th). But the two teams end up deciding on penalties. And in this little risky game, it is finally Croatia that comes out the best, even in front of excited Japanese supporters. Japan miss three of their four shots on goal and scuttle themselves on their own as they set foot in their first-ever quarter-final.