Croatia battled previous event favorites Brazil 4-2 on penalties on Friday to succeed in the World Cup semi-finals after a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes.
The 2018 runners-up made it via their second straight penalty shoot-out after defeating Japan additionally on penalties within the spherical of 16 and can now face both the Netherlands or Argentina who face one another later.
On an evening stuffed with pleasure and drama, Brazilian celebrity Neymar thought he had gained the match when he scored an extra-time purpose for the five-time world champions.
Croatia substitute Bruno Petkovic’s left-footed equalizer three minutes from the top of additional time introduced his aspect stage and broke Brazilian hearts at Doha’s Training Metropolis Stadium.
The Croatians saved their composure from the penalty spot when Brazil’s Marquinhos and Rodrygo didn’t convert.
Croatia initially refused to be intimidated by their extra good opponents and within the first half efficiently stifled most Brazil strikes early on.
Except for a weak Vinicius Jr. shot, Brazil had little else to supply in assault with Neymar off the tempo and shut down by a hard-working backline.
It was Croatia who appeared sharper, extra expert of their passing recreation and with a exact recreation plan, and on the finish of the primary half they’d the higher hand in possession.
A Neymar free-kick simply earlier than the break didn’t bother Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic because the Brazilians, whose final victory over European opposition within the knockout phases got here of their final win over Germany in 2002, struggled to seek out any area.
Nonetheless, they nearly took the lead three minutes after the restart when Josko Gvardiol tried to clear the ball however nearly turned it into his personal purpose.
Seconds later, a handball declare by defender Josip Juranovic was shot down following a VAR evaluation earlier than Neymar was despatched via by Richarlison within the fifty fifth minute, solely to have his close-range effort blocked by Livakovic.
The Brazilians, who’ve now misplaced 4 of their final 5 World Cup quarter-finals, all towards European opposition, made a significantly better begin to the second half and got here shut once more within the 66th when Lucas Paqueta was denied by Livakovic.
The Croatian goalkeeper was saved busy, stopping Neymar within the 76th and by then had extra saves within the recreation (seven) than his Brazilian counterpart Alisson had in the complete event (5).
Livakovic parried one other shot from Paqueta 5 minutes later because the few hundred Brazilian followers within the stands grew louder and extra impatient and the sport seeped into further time with Brazil coach Tite visibly nervous.
In stoppage time within the first interval, Neymar, who had been largely lackluster till then, launched an assault from outdoors the field, performed two straight one-twos to idiot the drained Croatian protection after which rounded the goalkeeper to equal Brazil nice Pele’s report of 77 worldwide objectives.
However the Croatians refused to surrender with Petkovic’s equalizer forcing penalties and got here out on high within the shootout with Livakovic saving Rodrygo’s spot-kick and Marquinos hitting the submit.