Croatia have advanced into the quarter-finals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup after beating Japan on penalty shootout in Monday’s round of 16 clash.
The Croats won 3-1 on penalties after 120 minutes of a thrilling contest ended 1-1.
Daizen Maeda put Croatia in front before Ivan Perisic equalized for Croatia.
Perisic netted his 10th goal at a major tournament and has now overtaken Davor Suker’s national team record of nine.
Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu almost gifted Croatian the lead in the 8th minute as his weak back pass was picked up by Ivan Perisic down the left but his shot was blocked by Shuichi Gonda.
Japan continue to create threats and went close on 12 minutes with Junya Ito delivering a low cross from the right but Daizen Maeda just missing the ball.
In the 41st minute Japan broke into a counter-attack and Daichi Kamada tried a shot from a tight corner down the left but sent it over the crossbar.
Japan then opened the scoring on 43 minutes as Wataru Endo delivered a cross from the right and Maya Yoshida got his foot in the way to set up Maeda whose shot ended in the back of the net.
On 52 minutes Croatia protested for a penalty as Bruno Petkovic went down while under pressure from Shogo Taniguchi trying to reach a long ball but the referee waved play on.
Croatia leveled up on 55 minutes thanks to Perisic who who headed in Dejan Lovren’s cross from the right.
Two minutes after Croatia equaliser Japan almost regain the lead with a stunning long-range shot by Endo that is tipped over the bar by Dominik saved Livakovic.
On 63 minutes Croatia skipper Luka Modric almost scored a stunner from distance but Gonda denied him with a beautiful lunge to his top right corner.
Japan bombed forward down the right with Ito sending in a dangerous low cross which was cleared away.
In the 75th minute Mario Pasalic connected with a cross from the right wing with his head but the effort went off target.
Perisic could have gotten his second in the 78th minute as he went on a run at the Japanese defence but saw his left foot strike deflect off Tomiyasu away for a corner.
With 10 minutes left Tomiyasu sent in a low cross with his left but the Croatian defence hurriedly clear the danger.
On 85 minutes Perisic delivered a cross from the left which Pasalic nod but his effort went away for a goal kick.
In first half stoppage time of extra-time Kaoru Mitoma hit a long range volley which the Croatian keeper tipped over the bar.
With nine minutes left to play in the second half extra-time Perisic sent in a dangerous corner which the Japanese keeper came out to punch away.
Lovro Majer had the chance to win it for Croatia in the final seconds of extra-time but dragged his low shot wide off target.
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