The third day of the Round of 16 had some major drama in one match and a blowout in the other! runners-up at the 2018 World Cup, Croatia, took on the mighty underdogs of the 2022 World Cup Japan. The favorite to win the tournament this year, Brazil, took on a talented South Korean unit.
World Cup Round of 16: Croatia and Brazil on to quarter-finals
World Cup Round of 16: Japan (1) 1 – 1 (3) Croatia
Japan is a team that concedes possession and looks to hit on the counter-attack; Croatia loves to have the ball and build with it to create attacks. It was a battle of the styles and in the first half, it seemed Japan was going to be the better. Two minutes before halftime Daizen Maeda found the opening goal. Japan took the lead into halftime, knowing they’d just need to thwart the Croatian attack as they did in the first half to make the quarter-finals.
10 minutes into the second half Ivan Perisic was able to head home a chance that came his way to draw Croatia level. With 35 minutes left in the half, both teams tried to use their styles of play to get a second goal and none were successful. This meant that the nations would have to go to two 15-minute halves of extra time. In these periods, no one was able to find the go-ahead goal, which led to the first penalty shootout of the 2022 World Cup!
The penalty shootout saw Japan shoot first. Takumi Minamino stepped up and had his effort stopped by Croatian goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic. Croatia then stepped in and converted their first penalty. Livakovic stood tall in his goal on Japan’s second attempt as well as stopping the effort. Marcelo Brozovic then came up and scored for Croatia. Japan finally got on the board on their third attempt, and their goalkeeper denied a Croatian spot kick two. After three rounds it was 2-1 in favor of Croatia.
Livakovic stopped a third Japan shot in the fourth round and Mario Pasalic scored for Croatia to give them the 3-1 penalty shootout win and send them to the quarter-finals. Japan’s effort came up just short but they look poised to be a strong footballing nation for years to come!
World Cup Round of 16: Brazil 4 – 1 South Korea
Brazil flew through their group en route to the Round of 16. For two of those games, they played without their captain Neymar and were still one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament. Luckily for them, they got Neymar back in the Round of 16. Taking on South Korea, Brazil’s talent was on full display!
Neymar was pulling the strings for Brazil who controlled the pace of play. In the 7th minute, he fired a ball into the box finding Vinicius Junior wide open; Vini smashed a shot home to give Brazil the early lead. Five minutes later Brazil won a penalty that Neymar clinically finished off to make it 2-0. A magical first half would continue as Richarlison added a third goal in the 29th minute. Three Brazil goals were scored all before the half-hour mark, and they weren’t done yet!
In the 36th minute, Brazil added a fourth thanks to Lucas Paqueta. Brazil was dancing all over South Korea, who struggle mightily in this game. Their talisman Heung-Min Son was not able to affect the game, and South Korea suffered as a result. They would find a lone consolation goal in the second half from a Seung-Ho Paik strike, but it was far too late for a comeback.
Brazil won 4-1. They move on to the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, while South Korea heads home.
Brazil vs Croatia in quarter-finals
tournament favorite, Brazil, clashes with a nation determined to make another run to the World Cup final, Croatia. This match will be a much-anticipated one as Brazil looks to really be clicking at the right time, while Croatia is a collective unit hardened by this most recent penalty shootout!
- Kickoff time: Friday, Dec. 9, 2 pm ET
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