Croatia ate the first golden square in the Qatar 2022 World Cup by defeating Brazil by penalty kicks (4-2), on Friday, after an exciting match whose original and extra time ended in a 1-1 draw at the Education City stadium.
The match began with Brazilian penetration attempts through the sides, represented by Bravinia on the right, and Vinicius Juniors on the left, which was met by an organized Croatian defense that closed all the outlets leading to his goal.
The solid wall formed by the Croatian national team prompted Neymar da Silva to rely on his technical skill by penetrating before he hit an easy ball that was caught by Dominic Levakovic.
In midfield, a technical battle took place in which veteran Luka Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic prevailed at the expense of Pacita and Casemiro, which gave the Croatian attack the ability to find chances, the most dangerous of which was a cross from Josip Juranovich, which Ivan failed to catch.
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After a white first half, the Selecao entered the second half with intense attacking pressure, with which Croatia’s net would have been shaken had it not been for Levakovic’s extraordinary intervention on two occasions, the first at the 47th minute and the second the most dangerous in the 53rd minute when Neymar was in a completely solitary position on the goal.
The Croatian goalkeeper brilliance prevented Paqueta from scoring in the 66th minute, before defender Eder Militao advanced and tried with a strong shot near the left post, after which substitute Anthony shot, but his ball did not torture Levakovic in holding it.
The goalless draw remained until the final whistle, so the match went into two additional halves, with which the Brazilian offensive tide continued amid a clear desire on the part of the Croats to go for lucky kicks.
The efforts of the Croatian national team were temporarily thwarted by Neymar when he succeeded in breaking the scoreline with a goal he scored in the last minute of the first extra period after a beautiful exchange of the ball between him and Pakita, which disrupted the opponent’s defense before he dodged the goalkeeper and fired into the goal.
In the second additional period, the Croats tried to adjust, and they had what they wanted in the 12th minute, from a cross ball sent by Mislav Orsic, which Bruno Petkovits converted with the sole of his foot to the left of Alison Becker, a goal that led the match to a penalty shootout.
Goalkeeper Levakovic continued his brilliance and distinction at crucial times and saved the first kick before Marquinhos missed the last kick to pass Croatia to the next round, and eliminate Brazil from the quarter-finals for the second time in a row.