2022 World Cup – Tuesday 06 December 2022
The first four last sixteen had all gone pretty much to form, so were there to be any shocks from the remaining four fixtures? There hadn’t even been any games going to extra-time or penalties, so was this about to change?
Japan 1 (1) – (0) 1 Croatia AET. Croatia won 3-1 on penalties. (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah)
Japan scorer: Maeda (43′). Croatia scorer: Perisic (55′)
Indeed it was.
This was the third World Cup meeting between the teams. The first encounter was in 1998, when a Davor Suker goal was enough to see Croatia win 1-0 in a group game. They met again in 2006 again at the group stages with a penalty save from Japan’s Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi denying Croatia victory as the game ended 0-0.
In what was a pretty open and entertaining game, Japan were the more lively of the two sides and deserved their lead just before the break when Celtic’s Daizen Maeda was quickest to react and fire home. Croatia though were level within ten minutes of the restart when Spurs’ Ivan Perisic powered in a header. Thereafter both ‘keepers, Dominik Livakovic for Croatia and Shuichi Gonda made decent saves to maintain the 1-1 score and send the game into extra-time.
As so often little was created in terms of chances and there was inevitability that penalties were needed to separate the sides. The record books will show that Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic was the hero saving three penalties as his side progressed 3-1, but if truth be told, the quality of those from the Japanese players was poor. Croatia runners-up in 2018 through to the Quarter Finals.
Brazil 4 (4) – (0) 1 South Korea (Stadium 974, Doha)
Brazil scorers: Vinicius Júnior (7′), Neymar (13’ pen), Richarlison (29′), Lucas Paqueta (36′). South Korea scorer: Paik Seung-ho (76′)
No competitive fixtures between these two sides but met as recently as June this year when Brazil ran out 5-1 winners in Seoul, with goals from Richarlison, two penalties from Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus.
When Lucas Paqueta scored Brazil’s fourth after thirty-six minutes, that score line six months earlier looked in danger of being surpassed. The five-times champions simply blew South Korea away will skill and pace with the pick of the goals the third scored by Richarlison who started and finished a very slick Brazilian move. Second-half the onslaught continued but Korean ‘keeper Kim Seung-gyu made a number of saves to ensure the defeat wasn’t even greater. South Korea did manage a consolation through Paik Seung-ho and would have had a couple more but for some excellent work by Alisson in the Brazilian goal. Brazil on a roll, and on this display you’d be nuts to bet against them winning a sixth World Cup.