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Croatia beat Brazil on penalties to reach FIFA World Cup semi-finals


Croatia stunned favorites Brazil to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on Friday, winning 4-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Marquinhos missed the crucial penalty kick in the penalty shootout, hitting the post as he had to score to keep Brazil in after Rodrygo’s earlier effort was saved by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Croatia did. successfully show all four penalties.

It was a remarkable turnaround after Brazil looked ready to win when Neymar opened the scoring with a superb mid-time strike that equalized Pele’s record of 77 goals for Brazil. .

ALSO READ: Blazing Brazil crushed South Korea 4-1; and this is for Pele who is battling cancer

But Bruno Petkovic headed back in the 117th minute to force a penalty shootout for Croatia, and Zlatko Dalic’s side followed up their win over Japan on penalties in the final round with a win, a must. considered their greatest ever triumph.

They advance to the semi-finals, while Brazil will have to wait at least another four years before claiming a record-long sixth title.

Neymar – who left the field in tears – gave Brazil the lead at the end of extra time, working well with Rodrygo and Lucas Paqueta before surging past goalkeeper Livakovic to score.

But it failed to break Croatia’s resistance as the 2018 World Cup finalists equalized.

Brazil has never played a delicate attack like in the round of 16 victory over South Korea.

Croatia remains as stubborn and unbreakable as ever, and they have now had to go into extra time in eight of their last nine major tournament knockouts, with the exception of defeat to France in the Champions League. World Cup final four years ago.

It will never be easy for Brazil to play with the same freedom and joy as when they destroyed Korea, when they celebrated their goal with choreographed choreography that seemed to make some onlookers uncomfortable.

Fear of losing:

But the challenge for Brazil coach Tite’s men – in the face of the enormous pressure always on the Brazilian national team at a World Cup – is not to let the fear of losing take away that joy.

The stakes are higher as the tournament progresses and Brazil enters Friday’s game at Doha’s Education City Stadium in an attempt to avoid falling into another trap set by a successful European team.

Brazil have been eliminated in the last four World Cups at this stage or in the semi-finals, each time by European opponents.

Croatia may be a country of only 4 million people but they reached the final four years ago and Luka Modric, their inspiration back then, is still one of the best players on the planet at his age. 37.

As it turns out, the midfield trio of Modric, Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic can also hold their own against Brazil.

Selecao scored 4 goals in the first 36 minutes against South Korea. Here they had only three shots on target in the first half and nothing seriously posed a problem for Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Livakovic.

Brazil nearly scored within two minutes of the second half when an Eder Militao cross was nearly made his own by Josko Gvardiol, before Livakovic made saves from Richarlison, Neymar and Paqueta.

Livakovic’s subsequent saves from Neymar and Paqueta followed, displacing some confidence from a strained Brazilian defence.

It looked like they were going to lose when Neymar broke the deadlock, but Croatia showed their tenacity to equalize when Petkovic made the first goal into the low middle of substitute Mislav Orsic. .

Then there were the penalties, and Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Modric and Orsic all converted into goals for Croatia, while Rodrygo and Marquinhos missed.

Neymar, who should have taken Brazil’s last kick, didn’t get a chance, and his tournament ended in tears.

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