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Good Brazil activate the type

Richarlison celebrates his goal with Marquinhos
Richarlison celebrates his aim with Marquinhos

It says loads concerning the bewildering degree of technical capacity on this Brazil facet that it was their centre-backs, Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, who mixed to arrange Richarlison’s good third aim.

From entrance to again, they had been all at it, toying with South Korea and administering brutal punishment, their dazzling first-half show – albeit in opposition to poor opposition – a reminder of why Brazil, though sluggish starters at this match, are favourites to win it.

Richarlison’s strike, which featured him juggling the ball on his head within the build-up, was the choose of the 4. The Tottenham ahead, scorer of a sensational overhead kick in opposition to Serbia, seems to be working his personal private aim of the match competitors.

However there was a lot to get pleasure from concerning the others too.

For the opener, there was Raphinha skinning his man to create the possibility, then Vinicius Jr taking the ball underneath his spell and bending it round 4 South Korean gamers on the goal-line.

For the fourth, there was the Actual Madrid man turning supplier, his delicate, lofted centre discovering the onrushing Lucas Paqueta with out the necessity for him to interrupt his stride.

There have been many extra moments to savour in between, from the dancing celebrations, considered one of which concerned their supervisor within the dugout, to the showboating brilliance that drew gasps from the gang.

This was Brazil as we all know them.

South Korea had been accommodating opponents, however the pace, precision and sheer enjoyment of Brazil’s show evoked reminiscences of their greatest sides. On the finish, the gamers held up a banner in help of Pele as he watched from his hospital mattress in Sao Paulo. The nice man likely authorized of what he noticed. Brazil have arrived.
Nick Wright

Alisson prepared for more durable assessments forward

Alisson produced a number of quality saves to deny South Korea more goals in their last-16 tie
Alisson produced quite a few high quality saves to disclaim South Korea extra targets of their last-16 tie

Alisson wouldn’t have been anticipated to have been in rivalry for Participant of the Match as Brazil took on South Korea. Much less nonetheless after the 4-1 thrashing they unleashed.

However the Liverpool goalkeeper, overwhelmed for the primary time within the match by a second-half Seung-Ho Paik stunner, had his work minimize out in Stadium 974 with quite a few high-quality saves to maintain Brazil’s progress extra routine than it may have been.

He was at full stretch to get fingertips to a Hee-Chan Hwang roller which might have overwhelmed lots of his World Cup colleagues earlier than the half-time break.

He denied the identical participant with a sprawling cease after the interval, and went on to provide one other very good save to maintain out an offside effort from Heung-Min Son – not that he knew it on the time.

Coupled together with his always-excellent distribution and high quality on the ball, it was a reassuring show for the Brazil backline who didn’t all the time attain the heights of their goalkeeper’s defensive efficiency.

There’s little doubt concerning the high quality of the South American’s assault. With Alisson between the sticks, their backline too appears to be like extra akin to that of a world champion.

Roy Keane’s verdict was unequivocal.

“Alisson might be upset with conceding a aim. There’s not a lot he can do with it, there’s a few deflections on the way in which.

“We have mentioned it earlier than – an impressive goalkeeper.”
Ron Walker

Brazil have to be prepared for a Croatia marathon

Mario Pasalic celebrates with Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic
Mario Pasalic celebrates with Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic

Second is the brand new first in the case of penalty shootouts – and Croatia do not thoughts defying the chances both.

The victory over Japan was the seventh consecutive set of spot kicks received by the facet capturing second, with Croatia completely happy to go the gap once more within the knockout phases. They’ve turn into one of many hardest sides to beat in current tournaments.

On the final World Cup, they held their nerve to progress previous each Denmark and Russia on penalties earlier than seeing off England after extra-time to achieve the ultimate. At Euro 2020, they had been undone in extra-time by Spain having suffered the identical destiny to Portugal in 2016. Croatia don’t exit simply.

Croatia could also be an ageing facet however there are nonetheless some marathons left in them but. Towards a Japan workforce stuffed with power and working, the Croats slowly however absolutely floor them down, suffocated their assaults and broke their will. Then their expertise got here by way of within the shootout.

Croatia will pose a totally totally different problem to Brazil than South Korea. Neymar and co have to be prepared for a battle till the final second.
David Richardson

Livakovic makes the distinction for Croatia

's goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic makes a save during the penalty shootout against Japan
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved three Japan penalties within the shootout

Japan’s penalties had been nervous. Tentative. However two of these stopped by Dominik Livakovic had been sure for the nook. The overall post-shot expected-goal worth of these 4 penalties was over three. Just one beat him. These had been good stops by the Croatia goalkeeper.

For all of the speak of Croatian expertise, the largest names – Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mateo Kovacic – had already been substituted. It fell to their 27-year-old goalkeeper, enjoying in his first World Cup knockout sport, to make the distinction.

Livakovic had confronted 54 profession penalties earlier than this match, with a conversion charge of 74 per cent in opposition to him. The common conversion charge is round 78 per cent, just like that of the Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. The stats had been on his facet. Livakovic backed it up.
Adam Bate

Hope for Japan regardless of extra last-16 heartbreak

Japan players are dejected after Croatia's win in the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Japan and Croatia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Japan gamers are dejected after struggling defeat to Croatia

If Japan’s performances in previous World Cups instructed us something, it was that they’d fail to make it out of a bunch containing earlier winners Germany and Spain, plus Costa Rica.

Courting again to 1998, the Asian facet had alternated between exiting on the group stage and the final 16 each 4 years. Given they made it to the primary knockout stage in 2018, falling on the opening hurdle this time spherical appeared inevitable – significantly as soon as they had been drawn in such a difficult group.

However Hajime Moriyasu’s facet tore up the script in Qatar. Not solely did they make it out of their group however they did so after ending high due to wins over Germany and Spain.

With the group-stage exit/last-16 exit sample ended, Japan’s subsequent problem was lastly making it to their first World Cup quarter-final.

Japan had appeared in three earlier last-16 encounters, struggling heart-breaking defeats on every event. A 1-0 loss to Turkey noticed them knocked out of their residence match in 2002, Paraguay beat them on penalties in 2010 they usually threw away a 2-0 result in lose 3-2 to Belgium in 2018.

Japan can add 2022 to that record of emotional defeats. After going toe-to-toe with Croatia, the 2018 runners-up, for 120 minutes, a dreadful set of penalties ended their World Cup marketing campaign and prompted tears amongst the squad.

However Japan can take coronary heart from their achievements in Qatar. Their wins over Germany and Spain will go down as two of the largest shocks of the match, whereas they had been considered one of solely 9 groups who made it to the 2018 knockout phases to take action once more 4 years later.

“Japan is reaching a degree the place we are able to play on the world stage,” Moriyasu mentioned after full-time. Whereas Croatia’s knockout-stage savvy finally proved insurmountable, Japan can confidently declare to have established themselves as a workforce to be revered – even perhaps feared – internationally.
Joe Shread


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