December 05, (THEWILL) – In the first knockout stage match to go all the way to penalty shootouts on Monday, at the Al Janoub Stadium, Dominik Livakovic became the latest World Cup shootout hero for Croatia, as they defeated Japan 3-1 after a tedious 1-1 draw in normal and extra time.
However, for them to advance to the quarterfinals, Croatian goalkeeper, Livakovic, had to keep away penalty kicks from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida.
It means Croatia have now triumphed in all three World Cup knockout matches that have gone all the way. In Russia four years ago, Danijel Subasic saved three penalties in a shootout in the last-16 during their march to the final.
The outcome was a little harsh on Japan, who had led through Daizen Maeda until Ivan Perisic levelled it up, but neither team looked particularly strong in advance of Croatia’s quarter-final fixture with either Brazil or South Korea, in the next following round.
Unfortunately for the Asians, the impressive displays that saw them defeat Germany and Spain by 2-1 goal margins, have come to an end and they will return home from Qatar.