Croatia had to wait for the penalty shootout to defeat Japan (1-1, 3-1 at TAB) in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup. The Vatreni will find the Brazil or South Korea in the quarterfinals, in Qatar.

Japan - Croatia: match notes

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    Japan 1 – 1

    Japan - Croatia: match notes game

    Croatia

    • D. Maeda 43'
    • I. Perišić 55'
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    After the qualifications of France, England, the Netherlands or even Argentina for the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, the round of 16 continued, this Monday at 4 p.m. First in Group E and qualified, to everyone's surprise, for the final table, Japan thus had an appointment with its history. Eliminated in the round of 16 at the last World Cup in Russia, the Blue Samurai – already released at this stage in 2002 and 2010 – had to get rid of Croatia, vice-world champion. Second in group F behind Morocco, Luka Modric's teammates, aligned in 4-3-3, started despite everything in the shoes of the favorite. Winner of Germany (2-1) and Spain (2-1), Japan presented themselves, for their part, in 3-4-3 with an attacking trio composed of Ritsu Doan, Daizen Maeda and the inevitable Daichi Kamada.

    Ivan Perisic responds to Daizen Maeda

    At Al-Janoub Stadium, Zlatko Dalic's men came under Japanese pressure very quickly and Shogo Taniguchi, perfectly found by Wataru Endo, was very close to deceiving Dominik Livakovic (3rd) with a header. Surprised from the start, the Croats were quick to regain control of possession and also showed themselves to be dangerous. Taking advantage of the naivety of Takehiro Tomiyasu and guilty of a slight push, not sanctioned, Ivan Perisic spun on goal but stumbled on an imperial Shuichi Gonda (8th). In a very lively start to the round of 16, Junya Ito provoked, once again, on his right side but neither Daizen Maeda, at the first post, nor Yuto Nagatomo, at the second, managed to regain his tense center (12th). Masters in the midfield, Mateo Kovacic's partners responded shortly before the half hour mark.

    On a nice cross from Borna Barisic, Kramaric took advantage of a deviation from Perisic but was finally countered in extremis by the Japanese defense (28th). Dominating, Croatia stumbled, however, on a tactically rigorous Japanese block. Worse still, Modric's teammates trembled against Kamada, at the conclusion of a superb collective movement (41st). Before cracking … On a corner played in three stages, Maeda took advantage of a discount from Yoshida to open the scoring (1-0, 43rd). Led at the break, the Vatreni had to react but had the greatest difficulty in destabilizing the Japanese lines. It was finally necessary to wait for the hour mark to see Ivan Perisic emerge on a perfect cross from Lovren and equalize with a powerful header (1-1, 55th). Caught up on the score, the Blue Samurai still stung…

    Croatia at the end of the suspense!

    By firing a splendid shot from the right from 20 meters, Endo thought he would put his people back in front but fell on a Livakovic, vigilant on his line (58th). Sharper, Croatia continued, despite everything, to attack. Found at the entrance to the surface, Modric tried his hand at it but Gonda perfectly repelled the power of the Madrid player's volley (63rd). If Perisic was still signaled in the last quarter of an hour, his heavy strike fled the Japanese frame (77th) and the two teams left for two periods of 15 additional minutes. In extra time, Vlasic and Majer made their appearance instead of Modric and Kovacic but it was Japan who stood out again. Author of an incredible breakthrough, Kaoru Mitoma ended up triggering a powerful strike from the right but fell on the last Croatian rampart (105th).

    True to their principles of play, Hajime Moriyasu's men continued to abuse this Croatian selection. Without finding the flaw. Despite a final attempt by Majer (120 + 1st), it was therefore necessary to rely on the fateful penalty shootout to decide between Vatreni and Blue Samurai. In that game, it was Croatia who showed more composure (3 shots on goal to 1) to offer themselves the scalp of the Japanese and reach the quarter-finals. Executioner of the leaders in this World Cup, Japan stops there. Croatia are now waiting to know the identity of their next opponent. It will be either Brazil or South Korea, who face each other this Monday at 8 p.m.

    Man of the match: Livaković (7)

    The Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper did his job perfectly. He was quite reassuring and decisive when necessary (20th, 57th, 60th, 105th), but he could not do anything about the opener from close range from Maeda (43rd). He then put on the hero costume by stopping three Japanese shots kicked by Minamino, Mitoma and then Yoshida. He is the results man.

    Japan

    • Gonda (5):he made a good save (7th), before a superb tap in front of Modric (63rd). On the other hand, he can do nothing on the very beautiful head of Perisic, to equalize (55th). A parade also decisive in extra time (113th). He was, however, not effective in the penalty shootout.

    • Nagatomo (4):aligned in a piston role, the former Marseillais allowed himself a few combinations with Maeda, but was above all very defensive. He was not always very fair in his clearances and his raises. If he held on in the first period, he seemed overwhelmed after the break and was logically overwhelmed during the Croatian equalizer. Replaced by Mitoma (64th, 4), who was more offensive and offered himself a big strike, after a nice breakthrough (105th)… but missed his penalty.

    • Yoshida (5):the leader of the Samurai Blue defense was, once again, the most reassuring in this three-man defense. If the hinge was not very busy, it still brought serenity, especially in aerial duels. He even offered himself a decisive deflection when opening the scoring. But he had more trouble after the break and lost a big ball (77th). But he was then invaluable in overtime, where he pushed back a lot of balls (8 clearances in total). He also missed his shot on goal.

    • Tomiyasu (4):a disastrous control which offered a very big opportunity to the Croats (8th). He then caught up with a very good counter (25th), but still showed feverishness throughout the game, especially in the second half. Not the most reassuring, but a decisive deviation to report (77th).

    • Taniguchi (5):a nice header on the first Japanese center (3rd) and efficiency in aerial duels. But his releases have not always been academic. He was still present at the marking and prevented Kramaric and Petkovic from existing, with the help of Yoshida. The Kawasaki Frontale defender was solid.

    • Morita (5): in front of the defense, Morita had a rather shy, but effective first period. Well helped by Endo, he completely drowned the Croatian midfielder. After the break, he was in more difficulty, but made a lot of effort in the defensive withdrawal. Replaced by Tanaka (106th).

    • Endo (7):the Júbilo Iwata strategist will win points with the general public. From the start, he dropped a good cross on the head of Taniguchi (3rd), before distributing excellent transmissions throughout the first period, like this sublime pass for Kamda (41st). After the break, Japan suffered, but they were present by making an important clearance (48th), before an excellent comeback at the feet of Petković (51st). An astonishing total of 16 balls recovered. He even offered himself a nice shot, deflected by Livakovic (58th).

    • Doan (6):he had fun with Barisic in the first half by doing a lot of attacking work on his left side. The Freiburg player did a lot of harm to Croatia and was decisive by making an excellent cross on Maeda's goal. He even showed great defensive qualities, like a sublime comeback at the end of the match in front of Barisic (78th). Replaced by Minamino (87th), who we saw too little and who missed his penalty.

    • Kamada (6):the Japanese playmaker did an excellent job of raising and floated against the Croatian midfielder. Technique and precision in the passes to maintain possession in the first period. A big missed opportunity after a good sequence (41st). But he then disappeared after the break and struggled to defend. Replaced by Sakai (75th, 4th), to secure the defense, but the former OM side above all made a lot of mistakes and was not reassuring.

    • Ito (5):in the first period, the Stade de Reims striker was one of the most prominent in his role as a piston and did a lot of damage to Barisic. Two good centers to report (13th and 20th) and an excellent breakthrough (40th) in the middle of the Vatreni. It was harder at the end of the match, but his defensive withdrawals were significant and even in extra time (100th).

    • Maeda (6): he made good calls and was much sought after by his midfielder. At the origin of a good action (41st), he concluded perfectly to open the scoring. Struggling after that, he was replaced by Asano (64th, 4), who lacked technique and lost a lot of balls. He was in Gvardiol's pocket as soon as he came on and was released much less than Maeda. He was especially effective in defensive withdrawals.

    Croatia

    • Livaković (7): our man of the match, see above .

    • Juranović (6):it should not be remembered that that, but the side of Celtic is at the origin of the first Japanese goal. The corner bringing the opening of the score is his fault, since he did not listen to his goalkeeper and sent the leather behind his goal line. Otherwise, his presence and his offensive support helped his team a lot (7 crosses, 1 key pass) and he made a good copy. Note a decisive intervention just in front of his goal (13th) and good solidity in his lane (3 clearances, 2/2 in the duel).

    • Lovren (6.5):the Zenit defender has gained momentum. We rather felt him in difficulty in the first period, having a lot of delay in the duels against Maeda. Then, over the course of the meeting, he gained confidence and consistency, constantly repelling the Japanese assaults in or around his area. Less comfortable with the ball than his partner, he nevertheless turned into a decisive passer for Perišić (55th).

    • Gvardiol (6.5):solid. The central defender of RB Leipzig made his power and speed speak in the duels. His ability to spring, to anticipate and to read the game well pose concerns for the Japanese offensives, as does his aerial presence. He was also very valuable with the ball, due to his ability to break lines or carry the ball to gain ground.

    • Barišić (3):the absence of Borna Sosa was too much felt in this round of 16 and Barišić clearly did not reassure. Struggling with Ito's speed in his lane, the Rangers left-back was always a step behind his vis-à-vis, often defending quite naively. The danger has too often come from his side. Offensively, he distilled some interesting balloons, but that's it.

    • Modric (3):we were entitled to expect much more from the 2018 Ballon d'Or. The Real Madrid midfielder (17 balls lost) sometimes seemed a little too retiring offensively, while being quite far from his opponents in a defensive situation (only 2 duels won out of 10 played). For example, he takes too long to get out on the ball carrier on the first occasion of the match. As a great player he is, however, he came out of his box unleashing a powerful shot repelled by the Japanese goalkeeper (63rd). Replaced by Majer (99th).

    • Brozović (6.5):the middle of Inter stood out in this round of 16. Positioned in front of the defense, it is through him that all the Croatian balls have passed (142 balls touched). He was at ease in aerial duels (100% successful) in particular, allowing him to set up his block in the Japanese camp. Offensively, he also made differences (3 key passes).

    • Kovačić (6):the Chelsea player has once again produced a very serious performance. His technical quality proved to be invaluable in moving up the pitch (88% successful passes), as was his omnipresence in the midfield, both defensively and offensively. He split a few incursions into the opposing camp well thought out. Warned for a late tackle on Ito (90th). Replaced by Vlašić (99th).

    • Kramarić (4): a frustrating encounter for the Hoffenheim bomber . Not killer enough on a second ball (8th), the Croatian striker did not have much to eat either (2 blocked shots). He fought well (3/5 in the duel) and showed considerable technical mastery (95% successful passes). Replaced by Pašalić (68th, 5), active on the right of the field and strong in the duel (4/5 won), but the face of the meeting and the rather low Japanese block did not allow him to express himself as he would have liked.

    • Petkovic (3):we can not blame him for his activity on the front of the attack and his fighting spirit (8/14 in the duel), nor the fact that he did not have a plethora of balls to dispute (24 touchdowns). But the center forward of Dinamo Zagreb could (should?) have done better in the first period on the opening of Gvardiol (26th). Otherwise, he will above all have been too slow in his decision-making to hurt the Japanese. Replaced by Budimir (62nd, 4), who fought well, but did not really weigh on the Japanese defense, which was expected of him, or at least did not been dangerous against the opponent's fairly low block. The Osasuna striker was even replaced by Livaja (105th), who missed his shot on goal, without consequences.

    • Perišić (7): the Tottenham player could have long regretted his huge missed opportunity from a tight angle against the Japan goalkeeper (8th). Fortunately for him, he caught up with a powerful helmet shot to equalize (55th), while showing the way as a good leader. He made Perišić, being generous in his efforts, especially defensive, and exhausting his vis-à-vis, while constantly proposing solutions to his partners. Replaced by Oršić (105th).

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