Croatia beat Japan on penalties to advance to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, after the last-16 tie finished 1-1 after extra time.
Japan took the lead through Daizen Maeda on the cusp of half time, before Ivan Perisic equalised with a second-half header.
Neither side could find a winner before the end of normal or extra time, but it was Croatia who emerged victorious in the shootout.
Here’s how the players fared.
Shuichi Gonda – 7: Saved well to keep out Perisic on the angle in a one-on-one situation inside the first 10 minutes. Could do little about the Croat’s fine header in the second half. Denied Modric what would have been a beautiful goal on the half-volley.
Shogo Taniguchi – 5: Flashed an attacking header wide in the opening minutes. Was perhaps lucky to get away with some wrestling against Petkovic.
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6: Slipped while trying a back pass from Japan’s right flank, allowing Perisic to run through and go one on one with Gonda. Ball-playing from the back was impressive, though, and he got a crucial touch on a Perisic shot to deflect it wide later in the game.
Maya Yoshida – 7: Touched Doan’s cross to Maeda, assisting the opening goal of the game. Saw a bad penalty saved in the shootout.
Yuto Nagatomo – 8: Arguably his side’s best performer here, alongside Ito. Displayed tidy footwork and delivered dastardly crosses. Made some important defensive contributions, too. Was surprisingly replaced shortly after the hour mark.
Hidemasa Morita – 5: Bafflingly did not throw a boot at the ball during a chaotic moment just in front of the Japan goal in the first half. Just clear it, Hidemasa!
Wataru Endo – 6: Little to criticise in the case of the central midfielder. Nearly scored with a long-distance effort that Livakovic did well to tip over.
Junya Ito – 8: Provided enticing deliveries, impressive touches and pacy runs. Croatia couldn’t live with him at times.
Daichi Kamada – 7: Carried the ball well during Japan’s better spells of possession. Just lacked a sufficient final product. Made way for Sakai as the second half wore on.
Ritsu Doan – 8: Showed necessary hunger and physicality in challenges in Croatia’s half, and provided darting runs and wicked deliveries. His curled cross set up Maeda’s goal, and he made a vital block to stop a Barisic shot in the second half.
Daizen Maeda – 8: Couldn’t quite get on the end of a couple of early crosses, but grew into the game and made no mistake with a close-range finish to open the scoring. Was taken off on 64 minutes.
Kaoru Mitoma – 6: Went on one driving run in extra time that almost resulted in a fine finish. Took a poor penalty in the shootout, which was saved.
Takuma Asano – 6: Full of energy in a period when Japan needed it, as Croatia began to take control. Scored his penalty.
Hiroki Sakai – 6.
Takumi Minamino – 4. Saw his penalty saved after a poor spot-kick.
Ao Tanaka – N/A.
Dominik Livakovic – 8: Was nearly caught dallying on the ball in the first few minutes of the game. Produced a solid save to tip over a long-range shot by Endo, however. Saved three penalties in the shootout.
Josip Juranovic – 4: Had trouble containing Nagatomo throughout.
Josko Gvardiol – 5: Not quite as defensively sharp as in recent games, and one first-half shot from the edge of the box was truly awful; it went straight up like a firework but fizzled out in the stands. Seconds later, though, he picked out Petkovic with a fantastic long ball.
Dejan Lovren – 7: Looked a little on edge in the first half, not exactly emitting the confidence that you’d want from your senior defender. Did, however, send in a wonderful ball to assist Perisic’s equaliser, and improved defensively.
Borna Barisic – 4: Really struggled to deal with Ito.
Mateo Kovacic – 5: Just couldn’t get a grip on the game. Became the first player to pick up a booking in the match, in the 90th minute. Was surprisingly hooked in extra time.
Marcelo Brozovic – 6: Metronomic in dictating the tempo of Croatia’s play in the early phases of the game, but was soon deprived of possession for a lengthy spell. Netted a neat penalty high down the middle.
Luka Modric – 6: Not quite as effective as he usually is, but nearly scored with a dipping half-volley from outside the Japan box. Was taken off in extra time.
Ivan Perisic – 8: Failed to capitalise on Tomiyasu’s early error as he was denied by Gonda when through one on one. The angle was against the Croat, in fairness, and he later netted with a brilliant header from a decent distance out.
Andrej Kramaric – 5: Lacked a necessary edge and willingness to commit to runs in the first half. Improved slightly after the break but was substituted before long anyway.
Bruno Petkovic – 4: Received a tremendous long pass over the top by Gvardiol, one that put the forward through on goal. Petkovic was too indecisive, however, and wasted the chance. Failed to create any others of note. Was replaced on the hour mark.
Ante Budimir – 4: Came on for Petkovic. Directed a close-range header woefully wide.
Mario Pasalic – 5. Scored the winning penalty.
Lovro Majer – 5.
Nikola Vlasic – 6. Scored with a solid penalty.
Marko Livaja – 4. Hit the post with a casual penalty.
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