Croatia beat Japan through penalty shootout to reach World Cup quarters


DOHA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Croatia goalkeeper Doninik Livakovic was his country's hero on Monday night as he upset three Japanese players in the penalty shootout to escort his team into the Qatar World Cup quarterfinals.

Livakovic saved penalties from Takumi Minamino, Kauru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida after the two sides tied 1-1 in the regular time and the goalless extra time in the Al Janoub Stadium.

Daizen Maedo put Japan ahead in the 43rd minute, scoring from close range after Croatia failed to deal with a Japanese corner routine that ended with Ritsu Doan curling in a left-foot cross.

Ivan Peresic equalized with an angled header 10 minutes into the second half, following an excellent diagonal cross from Dejan Lovren.

The remainder of the 90 minutes and extra-time failed to produce any more goals, despite the efforts of both sides and the game was decided from the always-dramatic penalty spot.

In the shootout, Croatia outscored Japan 3-1.

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