With the 2022 World Cup down to the final eight teams, the tournament’s quarterfinal kicked off on Friday with Brazil facing Croatia at the Education City Stadium
Brazil has played Croatia five times in total, with Friday’s match being their third in the World Cup. In their last meeting, four years ago, at an international friendly, Croatia suffered a 2-0 loss to the Brazilians. On paper, Brazil has been the better team during this staging of the World Cup, losing only one of their group matches and smashing South Korea 4-1 in the round of 16. However, Croatia advanced to the finals of the 2018 World Cup, while Brazil suffered a quarterfinal knockout.
The Croats, who are known to drag out knockout games to the end, kept the Brazilians at bay during the first half of the match with a quality defence. Brazil’s five shots, three of which were on target, turned up empty for the South American nation. Both teams were closely matched in regard to possession of the ball, with Brazil holding a small edge with 51%.
The second half saw Brazil’s star player Neymar miss several opportunities thanks to Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Livakovic proved to be Brazil’s biggest challenge, blocking a number of their quality goal opportunities.
With both teams unable to secure a goal at the 90-minute mark, the game continued into extra time, and Neymar netted his team’s first goal at the end of the first half of extra time. In the 117th minute, Bruno Petkovic scored Croatia’s equaliser, carrying the game to a penalty shootout, in which Croatia walked away victorious with a 4-2 finish.
Watch the match highlights below.