Goalkeeper Dominik Livaković was the hero for Croatia as they eliminated Japan in a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes was not enough to separate the sides.
Ivan Perisic had Croatia’s biggest chance of the first half but hesitated before shooting the ball which put him in a tight corner with the chance being wasted.
Japan grew into the game and were threatening but just couldn’t do Justice to it in the final third.
However, from a resulting corner, Maeda finally broke the deadlock with a left-footed finish.
Croatia trie to get back into the game after the break and were rewarded when Dejan Slovene swung a cross into the box that was met by an Ivan Perisic bullet header into the net.
As the game progressed, skipper of the Croatian side Luka Modrić fired a wicked shot from distance that was just tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.
With the score line still the same after 120 minutes of football, the game went into penalties and Croatia were victorious.
Takumi Minamino stepped up first and had his tame effort saved by Livaković. Nikola Vlasic converted for Croatia, and then it was disaster for Japan with their second attempt as Mitoma then an equally poor effort saved. Marko Livaja then crashed a casual side-footed attempt against the post, but Maya Yoshida followed up with Japan’s third miss.
Croatia went through to the quarter-final with only their fourth penalty as Mario Pašalić netted his attempt.
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