Croatia held their nerve to reach their second-ever Semi-Finals by beating Japan in first penalty shootout of the tournament so far in Brazil. Sevilla striker Hiroshi Ibusuki was heartbroken after missing twice from the spot in the space of ten minutes.
Croatia took the lead three times in the match, but found themselves pegged back each time. Here’s how it all unfolded:
- 01′ JAP 0-0 CRO: Yellow card after just fifteen seconds for Mario Badelj after he goes through the back of Nagatomo. No nonsense from the referee from Uzbekistan.
- 17′ JAP 0-1 CRO: Deep cross from the left to the far post from Ivan Perisic that Ivan Rakitic gets on the end of and turns past Kawashima from seven yards out.
- 52′ JAP 1-1 CRO: Some fantastic passing in midfield by Japan to open up space in front of the Croatian back four, and after 20 or so, they find it. Takagi plays in Shinji Okazaki who’s just onside and he smashes into the top corner from 16 yards.
- 65′ JAP 1-2 CRO: Luka Modric is fouled 30 yards out, but the referee plays a brilliant advantage as Olic spins the ball into the path of Eduardo who cuts inside the box and puts Croatia two-one up.
- 75′ JAP 2-2 CRO: Corluka doesn’t look up when he plays the ball across the face of goal towards his ‘keeper. It’s a gift for Takayuki Morimoto who has the simplest of finishes from 15 yards out to level. Croatia concede from their own throw-in.
- 93′ JAP 2-3 CRO: Ivica Olic puts Croatia back in front just 160 seconds into extra-time. The Japanese ‘keeper hits a weak free-kick upfield which comes straight back into his half through Badelj. Olic gets into the area, rounds Kawashima and taps over the line.
- 112′ JAP 3-3 CRO: There’s eight minutes to go and Japan have drawn level for the third time today. Pranjic is caught in possession and the ball forwards to Ibusuki. One-touch through-ball to Shinji Okazaki who nutmegs Blazevic from ten yards out.
- 120+1′ JAP 3-3 CRO: Penalty! We’re a minute into stoppage time, and a minute from a shootout when Maloca has both arms round Morimoto at a corner and Ravshan Irmatov points to the spot!
- 120+2′ JAP 3-3 CRO: Hiroshi Ibusuki can put Japan through here… he hits the post! Blazevic goes the right way but he wouldn’t have got there. The woodwork denies him! We go to a shootout!
- Danijel Pranjic goes first. Was at fault for the third Japanese goal. SCORES. 0-1
- William Kobayashi for Japan. Steps up and screws it high and wide. MISS. 0-1
- Luka Modric. Perfect penalty! High into top corner. No stopping that. 0-2
- Takayuti Morimoto. Sends Blazevic the wrong way and Japan are off the mark. 1-2
- Ivan Perisic. Scored in the Champions League Final shootout…. SCORES here! 1-3
- Hiroshi Kiotake up next. Fantastic into the top right! SCORES for Japan, it’s 2-3
- Dejan Lovren. Smashes it straight down the middle as the keeper goes right. 2-4
- Hiroshi Ibusuki to make amends, must score. HITS THE POST. It’s all over!
Croatia will play the winners of Italy v. Germany in the Semi-Finals.
FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014 MATCH 58: QUARTER-FINAL JAPAN 3-3 CROATIA Okazaki 52, 112 Rakitic 17 Morimoto 75 Eduardo 65 (Ibusuki m/pen 120+2) Olic 93 PENALTY SHOOTOUT (Croatia 1st) William ✘ ✔ Pranjic Morimoto ✔ ✔ Modric Kiyotake ✔ ✔ Perisic Fabregas ✔ ✔ Lovren Ibusuki ✘ CROATIA WIN 4-2 ON PENALTIES Fortaleza
DORTMUND PLAYER WATCH Ivan Perisic (CRO): 90' 27/35 passes, 2/10 crosses, 7/9 tackles 5/5 headers, 1 assist, 1/2 shots OT, scored in shootout. (7.7)