Croatia beat Brazil 4-2 on pens. to reach World Cup semi-finals
Croatia bounced back from a goal down in the final minutes of extra time to battle past tournament favourites Brazil 4-2 on penalties on Friday to reach the World Cup semi-finals following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
The 2018 runners-up came through their second consecutive shootout after beating Japan also on penalties in the last 16 and will now face either the Netherlands or Argentina who play each other later.
In an evening filled with tension and drama, Brazil superstar Neymar thought he had won the game when he rifled in an extra-time goal for the five-time world champions.
Croatia substitute Bruno Petkovic’s left-footed equaliser three minutes from the end of extra time drew his side level, breaking Brazilian hearts in Doha’s Education City Stadium.
The Croats kept their composure from the penalty spot as Brazil’s Marquinhos and Rodrygo failed to convert.
Croatia initially refused to be intimidated by their more illustrious opponents and in the first half successfully stifled most Brazil moves early.
Apart from a weak Vinicius Jr. shot, Brazil had little else to offer in terms of attack with Neymar off the pace and shut out by a hard-working backline.
It was Croatia who looked sharper, more skilled in their passing game and with a precise game plan, and by the end of the first half they had the upper hand in terms of possession.