Croatia stunned the football fans across the world when they knocked Brazil out on penalties in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Friday. After the match ended at 1-1 scoreline, Brazil’s Rodrygo missed the first penalty for the side while Marquinhos failed to net the do-or-die spot kick, ensuring a second-successive semi-final spot for Croatia. Incidentally, Croatia haven’t won a single knock-out match within 90 minutes in the World Cup since the previous edition, where they had reached the final.
Neymar had broken the deadlock in the injury time in extra time (105+1′); however, the euphoria didn’t last long for Brazil as substitute Bruno Petkovic equalized for Croatia with merely three minutes remaining on the clock.
Incidentally, Croatia had beaten Japan on penalties as well and once again, their goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic rose to the occasion as he saved two spot kicks from Rodrygo and Marquinhos to guide the side to the semi-finals of the tournament.
Five of Croatia’s last six matches at World Cups have gone to extra time, including in its penalty shootout win over Japan in the round of 16 in Qatar. The team has been successful in eight of its last 10 knockout matches at the tournament.
Brazil, however, have now failed to qualify for the semi-finals since the 2014 edition that took place at their home. The team had faced a 1-2 defeat against Belgium in the quarter-final of the 2018 edition of the tournament.
In 2014, the side faced an embarrassing defeat at the hands of eventual champions Germany, that humbled a Neymar-less home side 7-1 – to this date, it remains the best-ever scoreline for a winning side in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
Brazil was trying to defeat a European opponent in the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since the 2002 final against Germany, when Ronaldo scored both goals in a 2-0 victory for the side.