Croatia Beat Japan 3-1 on Penalty Kicks to Reach the Quarter-finals

Croatia Beat Japan: Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the hero, and saved penalties from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Maya Yoshida before Mario Pasalic in their 3-1 victory over Japan to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

After a 1-1 draw at extra time, Livakovic kept out the first two efforts before stopping Yoshida’s kick, then Pasalic tucked his penalty into the corner to take his side through.

Croatia, beaten in the final by France four years ago, will face tournament favourites Brazil or South Korea in the next round on Friday.

Japan was the livelier side and took a deserved lead two minutes before half-time when Celtic forward Daizen Maeda converted from Yoshida’s knockdown.

Croatia levelled in the second half courtesy of Ivan Perisic’s brilliant bullet header from Dejan Lovren’s cross, becoming his country’s all-time leading scorer at major tournaments with 10 goals.

Neither side could find a breakthrough and the game ticked into the additional 30 minutes, with Brighton midfielder Kaoru Mitoma’s spectacular strike pushed over by Livakovic.

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