Portugal vs Morocco in the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Croatian players celebrate their victory against Brazil on December 9. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil, favorites to win this year’s World Cup, are absent from Qatar 2022 after losing to Croatia on penalties 1-1 (4-2) in Friday’s spectacular quarter-final.

It looked like Neymar had won it for Brazil after scoring a superb solo goal in extra time – equaling Pelé’s international record for the Seleção with his 77th goal – but Bruno Petković broke the Brazilians’ hearts with an equalizer last minute to send the match. to penalties.

It was Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livaković who was again the hero of the shootout, saving Rodrygo’s early effort before defender Marquinhos saw his attempt hit the post to send Croatia through to the semi-finals.

Livaković had also saved three penalties in his side’s win over Japan in the previous round.

It was a dizzying end to another remarkable game in Qatar, which took until extra time to really get going.

The game was largely reduced to scrappy half-chances and resolute defending to keep second-half scoring level.

Brazilian Neymar is consoled by his team-mates after losing to Croatia on December 9.
Brazilian Neymar is consoled by his team-mates after losing to Croatia on December 9. (Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s raining on Neymar’s parade:

With extra time underway, Neymar has arguably produced the moment of the tournament so far. The star striker dropped deep to win the ball back and split the Croatian defense with two rebound passes with his teammates. He then fired his effort into the roof of the net.

The goal sparked a frenzied celebration inside the Education City stadium, with Neymar on the verge of tears after seemingly inspiring his side in the semi-finals.

But football can be cruel and Croatia have never given up.

In the 116th minute, Petković stunned Brazil by sweeping away the equalizer and forcing the game to a penalty shootout with his team’s first shot on target.

Despite being the captain and star player of his side, Neymar failed to take a penalty with Croatia – who have now won four penalty shootouts at the World Cup – scoring all his efforts before Brazil could even take his fifth.

Croatia, runners-up beaten in 2018, will now face Argentina for a place in the World Cup final.


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