Hoping to make lightning strike the identical place thrice, big killers Japan took on heavyweights Croatia within the final 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Monday (5 December). Japan got here near extending their dream run, however Dominik Livakovic’s heroics within the penalty shootout denied them a victory within the final 16. The Kockasti gained the shootout 3-1 after the sport ended 1-1 on the finish of regulation time.
The Samurai Blue loved a blistering begin on the Al Janoub Stadium, coming agonizingly near scoring the opener after a few minutes of play. Wataru Endo delivered a teasing cross into the field, which Shogo Taniguchi met from a mere six yards out. Sadly, the center-back couldn’t hold his effort on track.
Within the ninth minute, Japan right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu under-hit his move to the keeper, permitting Ivan Perisic to steal it and have a go at purpose. The underdogs reacted nicely to the menace and finally extinguished it. 4 minutes later, Junya Ito delivered a teasing cross into Croatia’s field. Daizen Maeda slid in to make contact however finally failed to take action by the narrowest of margins.
Within the forty third minute, Japan made their superiority depend. Ritsu Doan delivered a wonderful nook into the field. Maya Yoshida gained the preliminary header and directed it onto Maeda’s path. The Celtic artificial no mistake turning it in from shut vary.
Having been beneath the cosh for almost all of the primary half, Croatia lastly hit again by Perisic 10 minutes into the second 45. Dejan Lovren swung in a cross from the proper, and Perisic scored a thumping header to revive parity for his staff.
Within the 66th minute, Andrej Kramaric delivered a teasing cross into the Japanese field for Ante Budimir. The substitute shockingly didn’t hit the goal from shut vary. With nothing separating the 2 groups, the match went into additional time.
Within the one hundred and fifth minute, substitute Kaoru Mitoma went for purpose with a strong drive from outdoors the field. Croat keeper Livakovic made a robust save to maintain the underdogs from pulling forward.
With the scoreline at 1-1 on the finish of additional time, the match went to penalties. Livakovic made three gorgeous saves within the shootout to take his staff to the ultimate eight in Qatar. Listed here are 5 main takeaways from the nailbiter on the Al Janoub Stadium on Monday:
#5 Japan loved an electrical begin to the sport
Effervescent with confidence after their huge comeback wins over Germany and Spain, Japan loved a full of life begin within the spherical of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They made life tough for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists with their relentless urgent and fast counter-attacks.
Taniguchi had a wonderful alternative to attain the primary purpose of the match after simply three minutes of play. Croatia keeper Livakovic would have been overwhelmed had the defender managed to maintain his header on track. Within the thirteenth minute, Ito outfoxed Borna Borisic to ship a menacing cross into the field. Maeda didn’t make contact by the narrowest of margins. Hopefully, Japan might have been two targets to the great inside the primary quarter-hour.
#4 Wataru Endo ran the present within the 2022 FIFA World Cup final 16
Wataru Endo was arguably one of the best participant on the pitch on Monday. He created alternatives at will, held his personal in one-on-one duels, and fulfilled his defensive obligations, making life extremely tough for the opposition.
In opposition to Croatia, Endo performed a match-high 4 key passes, gained six floor duels, created two massive possibilities, and accomplished 60 correct passes (88.2% accuracy). He additionally delivered two correct lengthy balls, made 5 clearances, blocked a shot, and tried two tackles. Contemplating the shift he put in, It was disappointing to see him find yourself on the shedding facet.
#3 2022 FIFA World Cup witnessed its first penalty shootout
After Perisic canceled out Maeda’s opener, the 2 groups struggled to play significant soccer inside the ultimate third. The Vatreni primarily tried to bypass their opponents with lengthy balls excessive however not often managed to make Gonda work.
The Samurai Blue, however, both drilled crosses into the field or tried to play by the center. Neither possibility proved to be very efficient because the 2018 finalists managed to take care of their makes an attempt moderately simply.
Degree at 1-1, the match went to additional time, and later penalties, the place Croatia finally got here out on high. Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mario Pasalic (decisive kick) transformed their spot-kicks whereas Takuma Asano put away Japan’s solely profitable penalty. Marko Livaja was the one Croat to overlook his kick, whereas Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida noticed their efforts saved by Livakovic. It’s protected to say that the primary shootout in Qatar was fairly an eventful one.
It was Croatia’s third consecutive profitable penalty shootout on the FIFA World Cup. Japan, however, endured their second defeat on penalties in World Cup historical past.
#2 Luka Modric had a sport to neglect
Actual Madrid famous person Luka Modric struggled to impose himself within the conflict in opposition to Samurai Blue. He ran tirelessly and made himself accessible time and time once more, however he didn’t have a lot to indicate for his efforts. Aside from an impeccable half-volleyed effort within the 63rd minute, which Shuichi Gonda saved fantastically, Modric didn’t produce something to put in writing house about.
On Monday evening, Modric didn’t play any key passes, misplaced eight of 10 duels, misplaced possession 17 occasions, and misplaced 4 of 5 tried crosses. The 37-year-old was additionally dribbled previous on a few events earlier than being taken off within the 99th minute.
#1 Ivan Perisic and Dominik Livakovic take Croatia to the quarter-finals
Ivan Perisic and Dominik Livakovic led by instance to take their staff by to the quarter-finals. Perisic fantastically related with Lovren’s supply within the fifty fifth minute and directed his highly effective header into the underside left nook of Gonda’s purpose. Perisic additionally performed a key move, gained 5 aerial duels, and delivered an correct cross.
Livakovic, however, was the unabashed hero of the penalty shootout, making three gorgeous saves to take his staff to a 1-3 victory within the shootout. He dove to his left to cease Takumi Minamino’s strike from stepping into. Subsequent, Mitoma went left together with his kick, and once more, Livakovic guessed accurately and made a shocking diving save by lunging to his proper.
Livakovic’s third penalty save got here in opposition to Maya Yoshida. The defender failed to search out the left nook together with his kick, making for a moderately snug save for Livakovic. Earlier than the shootout, Livakovic made three saves and delivered eight correct lengthy balls (from open play).