Favorites of the tournament Brazil were eliminated from the World Cup on penalties, but Croatia maintained their composure to go to the semifinals.
After a riveting 90 minutes, Neymar’s thunderous attempt to tie Brazil’s “official” men’s goalscoring record gave Tite’s team hope that they had won it in extra time.
Bruno Petkovic, the substitute, had different intentions. He scored Croatia’s first goal of the game in the 116th minute to tie the score and force the dramatic penalty shootout.
Rodrygo, who was taking his team’s first penalty shot, was stopped by the great Dominik Livakovic, and Marquinhos’ pivotal fourth attempt hit the post. Croatia, who were defeated in the finals four years ago, scored on all four of their penalty attempts.
The Croatian squad ran to celebrate with their goalie as the ball rebounded over the woodwork, while the Brazil players fell to the ground, realising their hopes of winning a sixth championship were over.
And it was the European team that prevailed once more, having done so in the same way against Japan in the round of 16, to secure a Tuesday semi-final matchup with either the Netherlands or Argentina.
Croatia outshines Brazil by shocking the world
Brazil was anticipated to dance all the way to the final four in their pursuit of another star on their t-shirt, but their hopes were cruelly dashed.
Neymar now shares a record recognised by Fifa but not the national team since they also considered goals scored by their three-time World Cup champion in friendlies against club teams. Neymar scored his 77th goal in international play to tie Pele’s official milestone.
And because Brazil once again struggled against a European country, the Paris St. Germain striker will not have the chance to exceed the legend during this tournament. Since defeating Germany in the 2002 World Cup final, they have been eliminated by a European team five times in a row.
Neymar was expected to seize the initiative, defend his team when they needed him the most, and finish off a smooth team play with a brilliant strike, but instead, he broke down in tears after the shootout.
He ought to have given them the victory during regulation, but neither he nor Lucas Paqueta were able to get past the tenacious Livakovic, who made a total of 11 saves, the most of any goalkeeper at the competition.
Livakovic had to be in the right position at the right moment to make the stop, even if most were basic, and he most definitely was with Brazil’s first penalty, diving in the proper direction to push away Rodrygo’s effort.
Despite being a well-organized and tenacious team, Croatia failed to get a shot off until four minutes into extra time, when Petkovic’s side-footed strike past Alisson.
Eight of their last nine knockout games at significant competitions have now gone into extra time, thus Zlatko Dalic’s team once again demonstrated their mental toughness and endurance to advance.
When the game went to penalties, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, the dependable Luka Modric, and Mislav Orsic all scored, but Neymar was not one of the first four Brazilians to attempt a penalty and was apparently saved for a crucial fifth attempt that never materialised.
With their second consecutive shootout victory, Croatia advances to their third World Cup semi-final.
Upon the shocking exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Brazil coach Tite has resigned from the position of Coach of Brazil Team.