- Feb 25, 2024
- Apr 15, 2023
The FIFA World Cup 2022 hosted by Qatar reached the knockout stage and the teams are toiling hard to clinch the title. As things stand, Japan and Croatia kicked off against each other on December 5, Monday and it was the former who dominated the game completely in the first half. While one has to agree that Croatia entered the game as the favourites, Japan’s intent was much better and eventually, the first half ended with a scoreline of 1-0 in Japan’s favour.
As far as the first half is concerned, it was a quiet one barring the sole goal from the Japanese camp and the Croatian players looked out of touch, much to the surprise of the spectators gathered. Both teams remained goalless at the 40-minute mark and just when the fans predicted that the first 45 minutes might as well end that way, Japan’s Daizen Maeda produced the lead for the team in the 43rd minute and put Croatia on the back foot.
Concerning the second half, it was all about the Croatian camp as they managed to pull things back and get back on their feet to get the game going. Eventually, after toiling hard for nearly 50 minutes, their star player Ivan Perišić produced the equaliser in the 55th minute. While many feared that Japan might pull off an unbelievable win, the goal from Perišić changed the fortunes of the Croatian team.
At the 60-minute mark, the game looked like it could either way and Japan were thriving to score the lead, post conceding one right at the start of the second half. Eventually, the Japanese team were dominating with the possession but still failed to match the lead. With both teams fighting hard, it remained to be seen if they could clinch a win and cement the quarter-final berth. Both teams were granted additional time and the match looked poised at the start of the same.
With both teams failing to take the lead at the end of two additional times, the match entered the penalty shootout and the fans looked puzzled as they awaited the winner. Takumi Minamino missed the first penalty for Japan while Nikola Vlašić capitalized to make it 1-0. Eventually, Kaoru Mitoma missed out on the second chance for Japan while Marcelo Brozović capitalized and made it 2-0. Takuma Asano opened the account for Japan in the third round and with Croatia missing out, the scoreline remained at 2-1. Eventually Croatia made it through to the quarter-finals post defeating Japan 3-1 in the penalty shootout.