After going 1-0 down, Croatia clinched the quarterfinals birth after winning the penalty shoot 3-1. The hero of the shootout was the keeper Dominik Livakovic, who saved two straight penalties. Then Japan finally pulled one back before Maya Yoshida missed the crucial fourth penalty.
This allowed Mario Pasallic to score his spot kick with confidence and help Croatia reach the quarter-final stage for the second time in a row. Earlier in the game, Ivan Perisic levelled for Croatia in the 55th minute to keep them alive in the World Cup.
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With this magical performance, Livakovic becomes the third only goalkeeper to make three saves in a single World Cup penalty shootout. The other two glovemen to replicate this feat were Portugal’s Ricardo in 2006 versus England and Croatia’s Danijel Subasic versus Denmark in 2018.
Before this match, Dominik Livakovic's record against penalties was decent. He had managed to save 14 out of the 54 penalties and against Japan, he pushed Croatia into the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Now talking about the Japanese team, they had an incredible run in Qatar. The Blue Samurais slayed European giants like Germany and Spain in the Group Stage. After the RO16 game, Japan captain Maya Yoshida thanked the fans and talked about the sacrifices made by the team on this journey.
He said, "I am proud of my teammates. To beat Germany and Spain. Thanks to the crowd in the stadium and those watching on TV. For last four years, we have been working for this day. This is difficult to accept. We made lots of sacrifices. This is difficult to accept."