Football fans in shock as shootout masters Croatia end Brazil's hopes of sixth World Cup

Reduced to tears Brazil's Neymar is embraced by teammate Raphinha after Croatia knocked Brazil out of the World Cup beating the five-time champions 4-2 in a shootout, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. - AP

DHA Dec 9, 2022 (AFP): Croatia stunned Brazil in a dramatic penalty shootout on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup after Marquinhos slammed the decisive kick against the post.

Neymar looked to have kept Brazil's hopes of a sixth World Cup title alive by starting and finishing a brilliant effort in extra time that equalled Pele's international scoring record of 77 goals.

But he was left distraught and sobbing after Brazil lost a shootout that was triggered when Bruno Petkovic popped up to make it 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Neymar's individual flash of brilliance had lit up a tense and often niggly game that finished goalless in normal time, Croatia's man-of-the-match goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic pulling off a series of stunning blocks to keep the Brazilians at bay.

But as the minutes of extra time ticked down at the Education City Stadium, Petkovic popped up to connect with a cross and his deflected shot found its way into the net past the outstretched arm of Brazil 'keeper Alisson.

If Brazil were rocked by the late equaliser, worse was to come in a series of nerve-shredding spot kicks.

The tone was set when Nikola Vlasic slammed the opening penalty down the middle and into the net, before Livakovic tipped away Rodrygo's first effort for Brazil.

In the end it came down to Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos who strode up confidently, but saw his kick rebound off the post to give Croatia a 4-2 win in the shootout and a place in the last four for the second World Cup in a row.

As the Croatian players sprinted across the turf in joy, Marquinhos sank to his knees and Neymar was soon in tears, being consoled by veteran teammate Dani Alves.

The Croatian team coached by Zlatko Dalic followed up their win over Japan on penalties in the last round with this victory, which might well go down as their greatest ever triumph.

Livakovic, who again played a huge role after he saved three spot kicks against Japan, said: "We're raised as fighters. We spare no effort -- we're always giving our best and that's our recipe for success."

Brazil will have to wait at least another four years for that sixth title -- by 2026 it will be 24 years since they last won the World Cup.

Their captain Thiago Silva said: "It is difficult. I have been through some disappointments in my life and when we lose something important that we have as an objective it hurts quite a lot."

He blamed a moment's inattention for Croatia's equaliser.

"I think all of a sudden we lost our concentration," said Silva, who at 38 has likely played his last World Cup match.

"Sadly as a player I am not going to get to lift this trophy," he admitted.

Instead of a blockbuster South American semi-final between Brazil and Argentina, it is Croatia who will face the Lionel Messi Argentinian side that also defeated Netherlands in penalties in the other quarterfinals clash. - AFP

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Brazil , Shocking Defeat , Croatia , Qatar , World Cup


Next In Aseanplus News

Singapore PM Lee to make official visit to China on Monday (March 27), will meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang
Indonesia cracks down on used clothing imports as lower prices hurt local producers
Thailand's RM434 billion 2024 budget to be delayed over election
Vietnam seeks new investor incentives as cross-border tax rules loom
Singapore hospitals resume elective surgery deferred due to Covid-19, take steps to cut duration of stay
IMF chief warns risks to financial stability have increased; the need for vigilance" in banking sector
Tanker ship caught on fire off Indonesia's Lombok island
Traffic backed up four kilometres following yet another accident on Thailand's notorious Rama II highway
Philippines steps up efforts to eradicate tuberculosis
Sapling from world's longest-living Bodhi tree planted in Bai Dinh pagoda in Vietnam

Others Also Read