World Cup 2022: Croatia smashes Brazil’s dream and climbs to the semis

World Cup 2022: Croatia smashes Brazil’s dream and climbs to the semis

The first quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup was settled at the end of the suspense, Friday, December 9 in Al Rayyan. And after 120 minutes of play, Croatia won against Brazil (1-1, shots on goal 4-2). The favorites of the tournament come out, while the vice-world champions, still the strongest in the penalty shootout, await the Dutch or the Argentines in the semi-finals.

Eliminated in the quarter-finals against Belgium in 2018 in Kazan in Russia, the Brazilians, armed to aim for a sixth star, presented themselves against the Croats with their attacking trio Raphinha-Richarlison-Vinicius, from right to left, and Neymar in support.

Tite had not changed anything in his “Seleçao” victorious over South Korea in the previous round. Qualified after the second match and first in their group in the group stage, the Seleçao had made short work of the Koreans in the round of 16 (4-1).

By eliminating the Croats, Brazil had the opportunity to play the semi-finals of the World Cup for the ninth time in its history. But Luka Modric’s teammates had no intention of folding as easily as the Koreans.

The hell of Marquinhos, the address of the Croats

We had to wait for extra time to see Brazil open the scoring and break the lock thanks to Neymar. The Parisian, at the conclusion of a nice movement in one-two with Lucas Paqueta, scored from the right against a powerless Dominik Livakovic. The striker then joined King Pelé at the top of the scorers in selection, with 77 achievements (105th + 1). History then seemed written.

But a twist with the Croatian equalizer signed Bruno Petkovic, whose shot deflected by Marquinhos took Alisson Becker on the wrong foot (117th). Thanks to the striker, the 2018 world vice-champions could still believe in the last four.

And as in the previous round against Japan, Zlatko Dalic’s men were the strongest in the penalty shootout. The session started badly for Brazil with the failure of Rodrigo, whose shot was repelled by Petkovic. Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Luka Modric and Mislav Orsic did not tremble. And as a sign of fate, it was Marquinhos, unhappy in the last minutes of the game, who missed the fatal shot on goal. His ball hit the post, sounding the death knell for Auriverdes hopes.

Croatia, which will play the third semi-final of the World Cup in its history after those of 1998 and 2018, qualified against a nation that everyone announced at the top of the poster. A huge disappointment for Neymar, who was certainly playing his last World Cup in Qatar. Luka Modric and his partners will face the winner of Netherlands – Argentina for a place in the final.