World Cup: Croatia beat Japan in penalty shootout to reach quarter-finals

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Croatia have booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after defeating Japan on penalty shootout in Monday’s round of 16 clash.

The Croats won 3-1 on penalties after 120 minutes of a thrilling contest ended 1-1.

Daizen Maeda put Japan in front before Ivan Perisic equalized for Croatia.

Japan then opened the scoring on 43 minutes as Wataru Endo delivered a cross from the right and Maya Yoshida got his foot in the way to set up Maeda whose shot ended in the back of the net.

Croatia leveled up on 55 minutes thanks to Perisic who who headed in Dejan Lovren’s cross from the right.

On 63 minutes Croatia skipper Luka Modric almost scored a stunner from distance but Gonda denied him with a beautiful lunge to his top right corner.

Japan bombed forward down the right with Ito sending in a dangerous low cross which was cleared away.

In the 75th minute Mario Pasalic connected with a cross from the right wing with his head but the effort went off target.

Perisic could have gotten his second in the 78th minute as he went on a run at the Japanese defence but saw his left foot strike deflect off Tomiyasu away for a corner.

With 10 minutes left Tomiyasu sent in a low cross with his left but the Croatian defence hurriedly clear the danger.

On 85 minutes Perisic delivered a cross from the left which Pasalic nod but his effort went away for a goal kick.

In first half stoppage time of extra-time Kaoru Mitoma hit a long range volley which the Croatian keeper tipped over the bar.

With nine minutes left to play in the second half extra-time Perisic sent in a dangerous corner which the Japanese keeper came out to punch away.

Lovro Majer had the chance to win it for Croatia in the final seconds of extra-time but dragged his low shot wide off target.