It lasted 120 minutes and the first penalty shootout of the 2022 World Cup.
But Croatia advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic scoring a 3-1 victory over Japan after a 1-1 draw in extra time.
Takumi Minamino and Kaoru Mitoma couldn’t quite find the net for the Japanese, both shooting low and not having enough power to allow Livakovic to get there in time. After Croatia’s Marko Livaja hit the crossbar to leave the door wide open, Livakovic pulled off a superb third save on Maia Yoshida.
From there, it was easy for Mario Pasalic to seal the win for Croatia.
Born in Zadar, Croatia, Livaković currently plays club football for Dinamo Zagreb. He was in the World Cup squad that reached the finals in 2018, but that moment will quickly become a lesson for the keeper.
Japan took the lead with Daizen Maeda’s 43rd-minute strike and sat out the rest of the game. Ivan Perisic equalized for Croatia in the 55th minute and as the minutes ticked by, both teams seemed to accept the inevitability of a shootout.
Croatia national team head coach Zlatko Dalic brought on Luka Modric for Lovro Majer in the 99th minute of extra time. Modric, one of the best midfielders in the world, had to watch Croatia’s World Cup fate being decided.
Although Croatia converted three of their four chances from the penalty spot, it was clear that this decision was not going to give them victory.