SportsCroatia puts an end to Brazil's 'dance'

Croatia puts an end to Brazil’s ‘dance’

Neymar regrets the elimination of Brazil – Nick Potts/PA Wire/dpa

The Balkans, in the penalty shootout, send home one of the great favorites


The Croatian team has reached the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar after beating Brazil in a penalty shootout (1-1, 4-2 on penalties), before which they managed to neutralize Neymar Jr.’s goal on minute 105 with another from Bruno Petkovic in the final stretch of extra time, to close the feat by winning from eleven meters.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker came to the rescue of those from Tite in the discount of the first part of extra time, after a wall sensation with Lucas Paqueta with which he went one-on-one with the goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, who later he could not avoid establishing himself as one of the great protagonists of the clash with nine stops.

However, Bruno Petkovic, in the only shot between the sticks in the entire game for the Croats, avoided elimination with three minutes remaining in extra time, and the pass had to be said from eleven meters. The misses by Rodrygo, whose shot was saved by Livakovic, and by Marquinhos, who sent it to the post, completed the crushing of Zlatko Dalic’s men.

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At the start of the quarterfinals of the World Cup, respect marked the duel between the first two contenders. The checkered team pressed high in the first leg of the match, but little by little they began to drop their positions; Brazil, which repeated the formula of three centre-backs, was without ideas in attack and with a low pace, which Neymar and Vinicius tried to speed up without success.

In fact, the Real Madrid striker was the first to test Dominik Livakovic after five minutes with a long shot that the Balkan goalkeeper had no problem saving, and only a little later Mario Pasalic put a cross into the heart of the area that Ivan Perisic missed by very little.

With Lucas Paqueta totally disconnected, the ‘canarinha’ dominated in the first 45 minutes but without reaching clear chances of goal, which did come at the beginning of the second half. Already in the 47th minute, Livakovic had to take a shot from Barca Raphinha under the sticks that bounced off Gvardiol earlier, all after an action in which the Brazilian players unsuccessfully called for a penalty due to an involuntary handball by Josip Juranovic.

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The Croatian goalkeeper also broke up a one-on-one with Neymar in minute 55, who was about to take advantage of a filtered pass from Richarlison, and ten minutes later put in a saving hand against a Paqueta hat.

It was just the beginning of the festival for the Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper, who still appeared to stop an advance by Neymar in minute 76 and a shot from Paqueta in minute 79. Faced with Brazilian exasperation, Zlatko Dalic’s men, on the other hand, did not despair on the road his fifth extra time in the last six World Cup qualifiers.

Paqueta warned again at the start of extra time and Pedro joined the South American siege of the Croatian area, which was only interrupted by a spectacular play by Petkovic that Brozovic failed to finish successfully. The prize for Tite’s men finally came in the discount of the first part of extra time, when Neymar, after a magnificent wall with Paqueta, was left alone against Livakovic, whom he cut to send the ball into the back of the net (min .105).

However, with only three minutes remaining, Petkovic emerged to set up a shot that, after touching Marquinhos, deflected enough to mislead Alisson and into the net (min.117). Everything would be resolved in the penalty shootout.

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Against eleven meters, Croatia once again showed, as against Japan in the round of 16, their composure to beat the Rio de Janeiro goalkeeper with his four shots, while Rodrygo missed against Livakovic and Marquinhos smashed the ball into the post to unleash madness in the ranks Croatians, again in the semifinals for the second consecutive World Cup.

–RESULT: CROATIA, 1 – BRAZIL, 1 (0-0, at the end of regulation time; 1-1, after extra time; 4-2, on penalties).

CROATIA: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa (Budimir, min.110); Brozovic (Orsic, min.114), Modric, Kovacic (Majer, min.106); Pasalic (Vlasic, min.72), Kramaric (Petkovic, min.72) and Perisic.

BRAZIL: Alisson; Militao (Alex Sandro, min.106), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Danilo; Casemiro, Paqueta (Fred, min.106); Raphinha (Antony, min.56), Neymar, Vinicius (Rodrygo, min.64); and Richarlison (Pedro, min.84).

0-1, min.105+1: Neymar.

1-1, min.117: Petkovic.

1-0, Vlasic scores.

1-0, Rodrygo fails.

2-0, Majer scores.

2-1, Casemiro scores.

3-1, scores Modric.

3-2, Pedro scores.

4-2, scores Orsic.

4-2, Marquinhos misses.

–REFEREE: Michael Oliver (ENG). He admonished Marcelo Brozovic (min.31) and Petkovic (min.117) for Croatia and Danilo (min.25), Casemiro (min.68) and Marquinhos (min.77) for Brazil.

–STADIUM: Education City. 43,893 viewers.


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