FIFA World Cup 2022: Croatia ends Brazil’s dream

In front of 44,000 fans at Doha’s Education City Stadium, it was Croatia’s fourth win of a shoot-out at a World Cup and once again Croatia’s goalie Dominik Livakovic saved a penalty, their fourth consecutive World Cup. In the game before that, the Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper had kept his team in the match with strong saves.

For a long time, the game was a stalemate between Croatia’s dry game control and Brazil’s attempts to attack. Neymar only struck in extra time, but Bruno Petkovic equalized to make it 1-1 in the 116th minute. In the penalty shoot-out that followed, the “Selecao” finally got a rude awakening when the Croatians scored coldly and were able to prepare for the semifinals on Tuesday against the winner of the game Netherlands versus Argentina (8 p.m., live on ORF1).

Brazil fails in penalty shootout

Croatia reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. The runners-up beat Brazil 4-2 on penalties at Doha’s Education City Stadium on Friday.

Croatia won’t let Brazil into the game

Despite the negative record against Brazil and their gala performance in the 4-1 round of 16 against South Korea, Croatia did not hide at the beginning. No wonder, since coach Zlatko Dalic’s team only lost one game this year and that in the Nations League at home against Austria with a score of 0:3. In the 13th minute, the Croatians came from the right and Mario Pasalic flicked the ball past the far corner. Scoring opportunities, however, remained scarce in the first half.

AP/Alessandra Tarantino

A free kick from Neymar (l.) brought nothing, as the football jargon says

Croatia interfered early on, didn’t allow Brazil much to build up the game and controlled the game with his midfield around Luka Modric by holding the ball. On the other hand, the defense of the “Selecao” against Andrej Kramaric and Co. made no mistakes, just like Celtic legionnaire Josip Juranovic had the attackers of the Brazilians around Vinicius Jr. under control. That’s why the 0-0 was only the logical half-time score.

Unsuccessful attempts to stimulate attacking play

Croatia showed their willingness to pick up after the break exactly where they left off before England referee Michael Oliver’s half-time whistle, in which they came back on the pitch a few minutes ahead of Brazil.

But they must not have been too awake. The first few minutes after the break were marked by astonishing carelessness on the part of the defence. But there were still no chances that were played out. That’s probably why Brazil’s coach Tite brought in Antony for the pale Raphinha.

Again and again Livakovic

After an attack by the Croatians, with a well-timed switching game via Perisic, the South Americans countered via Richarlison and Neymar. But Dominik Livakovic once again excelled at this World Cup for his team (54th). Tite also changed Vinicius jr. against his Real Madrid colleague Rodrygo to liven up the attacking game.

Lucas Paqueta und Dominik Livakovic

Reuters/Lee Smith

Again and again Livakovic (right) threw himself successfully against the attacks of the Brazilians

But Brazil’s chances continued to be created by chance, as they did in the 66th minute when Livakovic saved from Lucas Paqueta. However, nothing more came from Croatia offensively. Livakovic was there again in the 76th minute when he successfully held off Richarlison. Brazil clearly had more chances at that point, but Croatia had Livakovic.

defensive wall holds

Shortly before the end of regulation time, Richarlison’s game was over. No matter who was on the pitch for Brazil, Croatia’s back line didn’t lose their order, but neither did the Selecao’s. Four minutes of stoppage time didn’t change the score, and so it went into overtime.

From Croatia, however, nothing more came offensively. Dinamo Zagreb’s Bruno Petkovic, who usually trotted along at a leisurely pace, played off two Brazilians with a nice hook on one of the rare counterattacks, but his assist could not be used.

Neymar scores

Reuters/Dylan Martinez

After more than 105 minutes of play, the time had come: Neymar (r.) swindled through the defense and scored to make it 1-0

Rude awakening for Brazil after 1-0

In injury time in the first half of extra time, the time had finally come. Neymar dribbled his way through the Croatians in a confined space in the penalty area, was unstoppable and chased the ball under the bar to make it 1-0 (105+1). But when the satisfied Brazilians were already preparing for the semi-finals, the Croatians struck again.

Mislav Orsic, who came on just a few moments earlier, went down the left and brought the ball into the middle ideally for Petkovic, whose deflected shot found its way into the goal to make it 1-1 (116th). Croatia cheered, Brazil was stunned. So close to the finish, the “Hexa” moved a step further away. Hopes of a sixth title were to be brutally crushed when Livakovic saved Rodrygo’s penalty and Marquinhos hit the post. Croatia had won yet another penalty shoot-out and Brazil were down.

Comments on the game:

Zlatko Dalic (Croatia coach): “This is only for the people of Croatia. It was a great game from the first minute to the last. We eliminated the big favorite. But that’s not the end for us, we have to keep going. Everyone did their best. Thanks also to everyone on the bench who is rooting for this national team.”

Dominik Livakovic (Goalkeeper Croatia): “First of all, we are experienced and we were brought up as fighters. We spare no effort, we do our best. And that is the recipe for success.”

Thiago Silva (Brazil captain): “It’s very difficult, you have no words. It hurts very much. I would have liked to have held up the trophy. It was just unfortunate and it’s incredibly difficult. But we look ahead and get back up.”

FIFA World Cup 2022, Quarterfinals


Croatia – Brazil 1:1 n.V. (0:0 0:0) 4:2 i.E.

Doha, Education City Stadium, 43,893 spectators, SR Oliver (ENG)

0:1 (105.+1) Neymar
1-1 (117′) Petkovic

Penalties shoot:

1:0 – Vlasic scores in the middle for Croatia
1-0 – Livakovic saves Rodrygo’s penalty
2:0 – Majer also increases to 2:0 in the middle
2:1 – Casemiro chases the ball into the net for Brazil
3-1 – Modric converts cool for Croatia
3:2 – Pedro shortens for Brazil
4:2 – Orsic keeps the pressure up and hits the corner
4:2 – Marquinhos only hits the bar

Croatia: Livakovic – Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa (110. Budimir) – Modric, Brozovic (114. Orsic), Kovacic (106. Majer) – Pasalic (72. Vlasic), Perisic – Kramaric (72. Petkovic)

Brazil: Alisson – Eder Militao (106. Alex Sandro), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Danilo – Paqueta (106. Fred), Casemiro – Rafinha (56. Antony), Neymar, Vinicius jr. (64. Rodrigo) – Richardson (84. Peter)

Yellow cards: Brozovic, Petkovic and Danilo, Casemiro, Marquinhos

Die Besten: Livakovic, Modric, Juranovic bzw. Casemiro, Neymar, Marquinhos



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