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Home   /   Croatia (P)1-1 Japan – As it happened

Here we go, Croatia vs Japan, the fifth last 16 clash and after yesterday’s amazing matches we are looking forward to more greatness today. Croatia come through after coming second in Group F with a 4-1 win against Canada being the best they have looked. As for Japan they are riding a wave of momentum winning Group E and coming of a 2-1 win over Spain. It should be a close match with the experience of Croatia playing against the unlikely underdogs in Japan.


1′ And we are underway as Croatia kick off

2′ A big chance for Japan early a whip from Wataru Endo gets through to Shogo Taniguchi who head the ball just wide.

4′ Croatia are starting to grow into the game with a fast-flowing tempo trying after Japan after their fast start

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7′ Croatia should have had a goal, Takehiro Tomiyasu with a socking back pass falling right at Ivan Perisic’s feet who tries to fit the ball into a tight space by the keeper who stops it to keep the game at 0-0

10′ Croatia once again are starting to get lots of possession and slow the tempo to their style of long build up play, Japan will want to up the tempo which is when they look most dangerous

13′ A tidy midfield battle is emerging with some beautiful tackles coming in from both Japan and Croatia, this could battle will be key for whoever wants to win this game and with Croatia having such a strong midfield you would have to believe they should win the midfield battle today

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17′ A bad challenge from Josko Gvaridol putting his side in a dangerous position and giving Japan a free kick in a spot of real possible damage

19′ What a run from Junya Ito who races past Perisic and puts in a cross which falls into Dominik Livakovic’s arms; however, this shows the kind off blueprint, the blue Samari have to follow espically using Ito’s incredible pace

23′ Opportunity for Croatia, with it falling to Gvradiol, after a rare disappointing free kick from Luka Modric, who blasts the ball over the bar from a pretty good angle

25′ Another chance for Croatia, this time the ball is played through for Bruno Petkovic who had Andrej Kramaric for an easy tap in however he doesn’t look up leaving Tomiyasu to mop up and pass the ball back to his keeper

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29′ The ball falls for Daichi Kamada, however, after he gets fouled he cannot get back in the attack which then fizzles out

31′ It feels like we have hit a bit of a stalemate with both teams not creating many chances however Japan do look more threating when they go forward, and you would say look like the better team through the first 31 minutes

36′ Croatia looking a lot like they did in the Morocco and Belgium matches where they cannot keep the ball and are not being forward thinking enough or having the quality when they get into good positions

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39′ Kamada is making things happen in this game having another chance hear cutting into in onto his left-hand side and gets the keeper to bite however he hits the ball just over the top of the goal. If only Japan had better quality in the final third, they could be two up right now however you feel the goal coming for Japan

42′ GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL – You could feel it coming Japan have got the first goal with Daizen Maeda putting the ball into the back of the net. He has looked dangerous all game and when Maya Yoshida knocked on the cross from the short corner across the box there was only winner with Maeda putting the ball into the goal to make it 1-0, which Japan thoroughly deserve

45′ We have two minutes of additional time to end the first half

Half-time – What a first half from Japan they have been the dominant side and have made Croatia pay with that late goal from Maeda to put them 1-0 up. From the first minute it’s clear that the blue Samari have been up for this especially the fans who have been making a tone of noise during the first half and that showed on the pitch with the fast-paced nature of the Japan side compared to the slow and sluggish Croatian performance that really highlights the age and lack of youth in the side especially with the midfield not being able to control the ball and space even with Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic as their midfielders. In the second half Croatia really need to up the tempo and try and get the ball into the midfielders espically Modric who even at his age can make things happen. I would also like to see Mislav Orisic brought on for that pace which Croatia just don’t have on the pitch currently.

46′ And we are back from the half time break for the second half which is now underway

48′ Well we have are first half chance for this half from Croatia with Mateo Kovacic hitting a speculative effort wide of the goal however it’s a good sign for Croatia to start looking better at the start of this half

51′ A little bit of a penalty shout for Croatia with Petkovic being dragged down by Maya Yoshida however the referee immediately waves away the appeals from Perisic and Kovacic

55′ GOALLLLLLLLLLLL – Croatia have life after a fairly mundane start for Croatia, however when Dejan Lovern puts an under hit cross into the box Perisic is able to win the header and put in into the right hand corner of the goal

57′ What a save from Livakovic right after Croatia score Endo has a strike from distance which needs to be tipped over the bar by the Croatian keeper to keep the score at 1-1

58′ The goal has awoken something in Croatia after Perisic runs through a few Japainise defenders before Yoshida is just able to get a foot to the ball to stop a potential brace for the Spurs star

61′ We have a change for Croatia

63′ Luka Modric now has a strike at goal which forces a good save from Shuichi Gonda

64′ We now have two changes for Japan including Brighton man Kaoru Mitoma

68′ We have more substitutions this time from Croatia

71′ A reminder as this a knockout match if the game ends in a draw there will be extra time and penalties if the game is still drawn after extra time.

73′ Japan are making another substitution with the amazing Kamada coming of for Hiroki Sakai, this does come as a slight shock as Kamada was one of the best players on the pitch for Japan, so this could be Japan looking to play for extra time and make sure they do not go out in normal time

76′ Another darting dribble from Perisic here who gets of a good shot with Tomiyasu getting a foot on the ball to send it out for a corner

80′ The Perisic goal has really given Croatia a shot in the arm this half with them looking more likely to get a winner if there is going to be one before extra time is needed.

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84′ Japan have had a couple of half chances in this half however they have not been able to muster any real chances of note and they look like they may be a bit tired after that amazing first half they played

86′ Perisic with an amazing ball in with it right on the head of Mario Pasalic who just can’t direct the header into the back of the net

86′ Japan have now made their fourth sub with former Liverpool man Takumi Minamino comes on for Ritsu Doan

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89′ We have are first yellow card of the game with Kovacic coming flying in with a late challenge and not winning the ball

90′ We have a minimum of four added minutes of normal time before the extra time that seemingly everyone predicated before the game today

End of normal time – We have had ninety minutes and neither team can get a winner, so we go to two halves of fifteen minutes before penalties if needed

Well going into the extra time it’s really going into Croatia domain with six of their last seven knockout games going to extra time, they also look the more likely to get the winner in extra time, as they’re the ones creating chances whereas Japan looking a bit leggy and will need to dig deep to get into the quater finals now.

91′ Here we go we are ready for are first extra time of the 2022 World Cup and it has kicked off with Japan getting it underway

93′ Early on in the second half Japan are looking the better and like they may have gotten a second wave of energy for this extra time

94′ Japan have now won themselves a corner and Tomiyasu and Pasalic have a clash of heads from the resulting corner however luckily both are up and on their feet with minimal damage being done

99′ We have a double substitution for Croatia

99′ Well then Modric is off this could be the last time we see him at a World Cup or major international tournament if Croatia bow out in this extra time or if they cannot win the following penalty shootout. He has also given the armband to Perisic

102′ A gift almost given after a poor header from Hidemasa Morita that could have fallen straight to Ante Budimir however Mitoma is able to clear

104′ There’s another moment of magic from Mitoma who drives into the box from the halfway line and strikes the ball forcing a strong stop from Livakovic

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105′ There has been two additional minutes added on at the end of the first half of extra time

105+1′ There has been a change for Japan with Ao Tanaka on for Hidemasa Morita

Half-time – extra time – Croatia 1-1 Japan

106′ there is a double change for Croatia

106′ We are back underway for the second half of extra time here in this last 16 match between Croatia and Japan, can one of these teams find a winner or will it go to penalties

108′ Japan once again starting the stronger at the start of the half of extra time with Mitoma in particular looking like a persistent threat to get Japan a winner late in the day

110′ What a match Croatia look to be through but Ito making an amazing defensive tackle to put the ball out for a corner which Gonda in the Japanese net is able to deal with

113′ After a long throw from Josip Juranovic into the box Gonda is once again able to collect and catch the ball stopping the Croatian threat for now

115′ We have another yellow card this time for Borna Barsisic after a badly timed challenge that looked out of tireness and cramp if nothing else

118′ Tanaka is now down saying he does not need treatment however due to the physios already being on the pitch he has to go to the sideline before rejoining the action

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120′ We have one minute of additional time before penalties

Full-time – Extra time – It ends 1-1 and we have penalties what a tie there has been nothing to separate these sides all day and after an action packed thirty minutes of extra time it comes down to penalties. It seems so unfair for either team to go out in such harsh circumstances however one has to prevail to play either Brazil or South Korea in the Quater finals.

Penalties – Japan have the first penalty and it is in front of the Japan fans which could give them an advantage in this shootout

Pen 1 Japan – Minamino misses the first penalty he hits it bottom right with little power making it easy for a save

Pen 1 Croatia – Vlasic is up next and Burries it down the bottom left

Pen 2 Japan – Mitoma is up next, and he has missed this penalty put down the left however once again it is struck poorly

Pen 2 Croatia – Brozovic strikes straight down the middle to give Croatia a 2 goal lead

Pen 3 Japan – Asano is up next, he needs to score this, and he does

Pen 3 Croatia – Livaja steps up and with a slow run up he puts against the post

Pen 4 Japan – Is there life for Japan the captain Yoshida steps up and its saved again another poor struck penalty and Croatia can now win it

Pen 4 Croatia – Pasalic is up to win it and he sends the keeper the wrong way and sticks it bottom left to send Croatia through to the Quater finals

Full-time – Croatia 1-1 Japan (3-1) pens – Well what a game in the end experience prevails in a hell of a last 16 match. Japan now unfortunately bows out after an amazing run in the tournament however they still wait that elusive quarter final. As for Croatia they are through much like there run to the final in Russia coming from behind and leaning on their experience to get the job done. We will see how far they can go with a match up with either Brazil or South Korea awaiting in the quarter finals.

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May 2024