Croatia beat Brazil after penalty shootout to reach World Cup semi-final

AP - Petr David Josek

Croatia beat Brazil in a penalty shootout on Friday night to advance to the World Cup semi-final for a second successive tournament.

The 2018 runners-up showed immense resilience to come from behind in extra-time and then hold their nerve in the dramatic denouement to oust the pre-competition favourites who missed two of their spot kicks.

Croatia will play Argentina who also needed a penalty shootout at the Al Thumama Stadium to see off the Netherlands who scored two late goals to gain parity at 2-2 and push the tie into extra-time.

Inthe subsequent shootout, the Netherlands missed their first two penalties and Argentina claimed the endgame 4-3.

Earlier at the Education City Stadium, Neymar put Brazil ahead with a slick finish at the end of the first period of extra-time following a goalless 90 minutes.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker exchanged passes with Rodrygo and Pedro, then surged into the penalty area, went round the Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

The setback left Croatia with no option after Brazil's famed attack had done its job.

The question over the final 15 minutes was whether the Brazil defence could be breached and whether the strikers could pounce again as Croatia sprang forward.

Brazil appeared to be caught in a no man's land. When the counterattack appeared available, play was slowed down. And they were undone in one launch forward three minutes from the semi-final.

Errors

Precision

Lucas Paqueta should have done better mid way through the second- half with clear sight of goal.


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