FIFA World Cup 2022: Croatia takes down Brazil on penalties to advance to the semifinal

Al-Wakrah, Qatar; Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (10) controls the ball during the first half of a round of sixteen match against Japan during the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al-Janoub Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Croatia did it again, this time taking down World Cup favorites Brazil 4-2 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 in regulation.

For Brazil, it marks the fourth time in the last five World Cups that they have failed to progress past the quarterfinals. For Croatia, penalty kicks seem to be their preferred method to win games, as they are now 4-0 when they go to penalties over the past two World Cups.

The scoreless 90 minutes was highlighted by back-to-back chances early in the second half — a sliding Jakob Gvardiol blocked Neymar’s initial shot, and Dominik Livaković needed to stop a Vinícius Júnior follow-up effort to keep the game 0-0.

The Brazilian breakthrough ultimately came in extra time when Neymar combined with Lucas Paquetá, dribbled around the keeper and rifled the ball into the roof of the net. However, Croatia dug deep and found a way to respond, equalizing in the 117th minute when a Bruno Petković shot was deflected past Brazilian keeper Allison.

Livaković came up strong to start the shootout by saving Rodrygo’s penalty. Marquinhos then smashed Brazil’s fourth penalty off the post to send his side crashing out of the World Cup.

 Expected goals (xG): Brazil 1.57, Croatia 0.69

Man of the Match: Dominik Livaković, Croatia

Livaković continued his impressive World Cup with another excellent performance to push Croatia through to the semifinals. In regulation and extra time, Livaković made 10 saves to force the game into penalties. He again made a save in the shootout to help Croatia to a 4-2 win.

Best Passer: Luka Modrić, Croatia 

The 37-year-old put on another world-class performance, completing 90.4% of the passes he attempted. He completed 104 out of 115 passes, 12 of his 18 line-breaking passes, and he created one chance.

Best Challenger: Casemiro, Brazil

Casemiro was a force for the Seleção Canarinho in the middle of the park. He won all eight of his 50/50 duels, his one aerial duel, three tackles, and he defended one dribble. It was a strong performance by the Manchester United man in a losing effort.

Neymar going down in history

Despite the score, Neymar has etched his name into Brazilian soccer history. His goal in extra time was the 77th of his international career, tying him with the all-time great Pelé for most all-time for a male Brazilian national team player. On top of the goal, Neymar completed two crosses, six dribbles and had seven possessions in the Croatia box. If this was his last World Cup, it was a performance to be proud of.

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