World cup football returns after a two-day drought, we are treated to a feast as last year’s finalists take on the favourites of Qatar’s World cup. For an 8th consecutive world cup, Brazil will feature in the quarter-finals as they look to progress and seize the opportunity to grasp their 6th world cup trophy. Croatia on the other hand will look to feature in less drama than last time out as they were taken all the way to penalties against a high-pressing Japan team. Zlatko Dalic’s men could have the opportunity to make history today by not only making the semi-finals for the 3rd time out of 6 attempts but also recording their first-ever victory over Brazil. Croatia will definitely thrive as underdogs as they’ve done countless times before, Dejan Lovren has said that they will play with no pressure as they know the world is watching and that Brazil are the popular choice for victors. Brazil look to remain the same as they did against South Korea as they were so threatening and play the same four of Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr, and Richarlison who have combined nine goals between them thus far. The Croats will line up defensively sound by having their consistent back four as Lovren will partner the young Josko Gvardiol with Dominik Livakovic in the net who has only conceded two in four, Mario Pasalic comes in for Petkovic as Andrej Kramaric moves into the striker position.
1′ The first of the quarter finals is underway as the midfield veteran Luka Modric plays the ball from the centre circle, Croatia looking to eye up a third quarter final and Brazil… well they look for the ninth.
3′ Brazil seem to be setting the tempo so far as the back for play it around with Allison Becker but Croatia seem very happy to press high and wait for any inkling that seems like an opportunity to pounce on a mistake.
5′ Vinicius Jr is very active early on as the ball is constantly being switched over to him and he’s receiving a lot of joy on the far left as Josip Juranovic misjudges the timing of the clearance. Vinicius manages to get the first shot of the game but easily claimed by Livakovic.
8′ A very uncommon misplaced pass from Modric causes Mateo Kovacic to bring down Raphinha, a clever foul from the Chelsea midfielder to stop any sense of a counter attack.
12′ Neymar Jr definitely hasn’t started the game as bright as the last, he’s had three opportunities with the ball in the first 12 minutes and nothing positive has come from it thus far.Embed from Getty Images
13′ Chance for Croatia! The ball is fizzed across the box from the right hand side from Juranovic who’s had very impressive tournament so far. He finds Ivan Perisic who is able to get a slight touch on the ball but it drifts wide of the left post. Brilliant start from the Checkered ones who are definitely up for this!
17′ Croatia are pressing the selacao well in possession . Brazil are struggling to find their tempo as they did against South Korea so quickly a few days prior to this.
20′ Brazil are starting to look like themselves now as Vinicius Jr drives into the box and beats his man, plays a one-two with Richarlison who then finds a chance to get the shot off but is brilliantly blocked by the young brick wall better known as Josko Gvardiol.
24′ Modric manages to hold off any intruders but is eventually fouled in his own half which will allow Croatia to gather themselves after a few moments of danger. Loveren and company definitely have task on their hands today.
25′ Danilo sees yellow as a he raises a high boot whilst going in for the ball to prevent Juranovic to enter the Brazilian box.Embed from Getty Images
31′ Silly foul from Marcelo Brozovic as Neymar shows a silky bit of trickery and pops it through Brozovic’s legs but the embarrassment got the better of the Croatian as he pulls Neymar down preventing him getting any further up the pitch.
34′ Croatia have shockingly been in control of the ball and it’s all down to the midfield trio of Modric, Kovacic, and Brozovic who are untouchable so far as they string the passes together and are able to cause Brazil problems of their own.
37′ Brazil should focus on getting the ball out wide as the only success they’ve had is where their attackers have been allowed in a one-on-one situation. Croatia will be very happy if things remain the same.
41′ Brozovic needs to be careful as he gives away another foul but this time in a very dangerous destination, Vinicius is clever enough to take the contact and win the foul. Neymar directs the ball past the wall but it takes a slight deflection and falls into Livakovics’s arms.Embed from Getty Images
45′ Gvardiol finds Kramaric with a long ball over the top of the defence but Thiago Silva manages to catch up with them, even at 38 years old he’s still got the legs. Unfortunately for him, it was unneeded as the flag is put up indicating Kramaric made his run slightly too early.
45′ One minute of added time, Brazil will be thankful to hear as they definitely need a shakeup. Croatia are on top this half.
45+1′ HALF TIMEEmbed from Getty Images
A half to forget for Brazil, they’ve been dominated by Croatia’s experience who have approached this game with intent. Dalic’s men have done everything right so far but just lack the quality up top, it’s been mentioned the whole tournament they really miss Mandzukic to finish off the chances created. As for Brazil they really haven’t left first gear yet, Neymar doesn’t seem to be his usual self and his peers are also struggling to get a hold of the ball and create any chances. This won’t scare Brazil too much as they’ve failed to score in the first half of six of their last seven games in the world cup. Tite’s side need to remain patient and get their wingers into the game and we all know the quality they have going forward that can hurt any tea no matter how strong.
46′ Brazil get the second half started as they will look to up the tempo and try and reclaim control of this game from the checkered ones.
47′ Wonderful save from Livakovic to prevent any blushes from Gvardiol as he nearly caused an own goal, Gvardiol moves on quick as he has to reach the ball before Richarlison from latching on to the ball but a shot is able to get at the goal but a sharp save from Livakovic once again.
48′ Gvardiol is heavily involved once again as he prevents Neymar scoring on the half turn with a vital block, Richarlison is there for the rebound but is flagged offside after Livakovic gathers the ball. A moment of nerves for Juranovic as there’s a call for a potential handball but VAR waves it off and Croatia will restart the game again.
53′ Juranovic is involved once again as he surges forward down the right flank, Palasic takes over and finds perisic who floats in a dangerous cross-back post but it’s too high for any Croatian to meet.
56′ SUBSTITUTION- the first substitute of the game is from Brazil, Manchester United’s Antony replaces Raphinha who has been very quiet this game so you could definitely see it coming.Embed from Getty Images
60′ Croatia starting to find their way again and replicate what they did in the first half as they regain possession especially from the midfield three.
64′ SUBSTITUTION- Another subs from the yellow corner as Tite makes the decision to take off on Madrid winger in Vinicius and bring on another Madrid winger in Rodrygo. Vinicius Jr has definitely underperformed to his standards.
66′ Paqueta with a gifted opportunity in the six-yard box as he look to knock it past Livakovic but the Croatian goalkeeper is a great match and has been up to any task that’s been given so far!
68′ Casemiro tries to match Kramaric but arrives late with his boot, Michael Oliver shows him the yellow card.Embed from Getty Images
69′ Kovacic showing why pressing him is pointless to the Brazilians as he manages time and time again to escape the pressure and find a team mate to continue the momentum.
72′ SUBSTITUTION- Croatia play their cards in this intense game and make a double substitution at the top end of the pitch.
76′ Brazil have really gone up a notch here and have managed to find that Brazilian rhythm we were desperate to see as they play the ball through the Croatian defence with ease but Livakovic and his back four managed to keep them out for now…
77′ Marquinhos has gone into the referees book with a tactical foul to stop Modric making any ground in a counter attack.Embed from Getty Images
80′ Livakovic has made eight saves in this game so far, the most ever by a Croatian goalkeeper in a single world cup game. That tells you just how important he’s been not only today but the whole tournament.
84′ SUBSTITUTION- Richarlison makes way for Pedro as Brazil desperately search for the opening goal.
86′ Brazil break away on the counter as the ball falls to Antony on the right who plays it to Eder Militao who gets two bites of the cherry and wins a corner on the second attempt. Nothing comes from the corner as the first man heads it away.
90′ Neymar looks to catch out the Croatian back line with scoop over the top to find Pedro but its headed away. Things are getting tense now as one goal will decide it all.
90′ Four minutes of extra time has been added.
90+3′ Modric takes out his Madrid teammate to stop anything dangerous, Brazil fans urge the referee to bring out a card but there’s no movement to the pocket.
90+4 FULL TIME. Croatia 0-0 Brazil
An intense game between two brilliant teams that seem to have done everything right just not in front of goal. Incredible saves from Livakovic to keep Croatia in the game even more but Brazil haven’t created anything particularly special so 0-0 seems very fair after 90-plus minutes. We head into extra time now to see who will remain in the world cup and who will be heading home.
92′ Brazil start the period of extra time where they left off, on the attack whilst Croatia soak up the pressure and try to create something of their own.
95′ Antony with a lovely bit of trickery to fool Sosa but is manhandled to the floor and wins a free kick for Brazil, Antony wants the yellow card out which you can definitely understand.Embed from Getty Images
100′ A slight chance for Pedro as he tries the spectacular but slips and cant get a good connection with the ball. Livakovic will be happy to see the ball with no pace headed towards goal.
103′ What a chance for Croatia! Brozovic fires it over the bar after an outrageous bit of skill from a slow moving Petkovic who in a flash of brilliance takes it past two Brazilian defenders and lays it off but nothing comes from it.
105+1′ GOALLL!!! He’s done it, Neymar with a beautiful bit if interlinking with Paqueta, he then runs past Modric then takes it past the keeper, and hits it into the roof of the net. He is now level with Pele on goals scored for Brazil, What an achievement!Embed from Getty Images
HALF TIME OF EXTRA TIME
SUBSTITUTION- One change for Croatia and two for brazil as Fred replaces Paqueta and Alex Sandro replaces Militao.
106′ The second half of extra time begins as Croatia will give everything they have to take this to penalties and Brazil will give even more to make sure it doesn’t.
110′ SUBSTITUTE- Another change for Croatia now as they look to throw everything at Brazil.
114′ Orsic makes his way onto the pitch to try and make any difference in the closing stages.
116′ GOALLL!!! Croatia just won’t lie down! A brilliantly made counterattack as Orsic drives down the left flank and plays it behind to Petkovic who places it beyond Allison. The checkered ones go mental and the shirt is off from Petkovic. It couldn’t be penalties again or could it…Embed from Getty Images
117′ Petkovic knew it was coming as he receives a yellow card for the celebration.
120′ Two minutes added on.
120+1′ Perisic gives away a silly foul in attempt to get one over Antony after the intense stare down, could this cost him and his nation.
120+2 FULL TIME
WOW! A brilliant game and luckily enough for us it doesn’t end here, its going all the way to penalties. Both teams have won their last three shoot-outs but Croatia have had recent practice from last round against Japan, especially Livakovic who made three massive saves to get Croatia into this position.
Penalty 1 (Croatia) Vlasic smashes into the roof of the net and straight down the middle, no chance for Allison. 1-0.
Penalty1 (Brazil) Rodrygo hits it to the right and its saved! Livakovic once again is the hero. 1-0.
Penalty2 (Croatia) Majer knocks it straight down the middle but not convincingly, luckily Allison commits and doesn’t get near it. 2-0.
Penalty 2 (Brazil) Casemiro smashes into the side netting even with Livakovic guessing correctly it was hammered home. 2-1.
Penalty 3 (Croatia) Modric makes it three from three as he fools Allison by making him dive the opposite way. 3-1.
Penalty 3 (Brazil) The substitute Pedro keeps brazil in this with a clam penalty to give the Brazilian fans hope. 3-2.
Penalty 4 (Croatia) Orsic the provider scores his penalty to make the next penalty for Brazil a must score. 4-2.
Penalty4 (Brazil) Marquinhos Misses! its off the post and Croatia are through to their third ever semi-final.Embed from Getty Images
A game of joy and heartbreak and it finishes in the most brutal way. Penalties are the decider between the two strong nations who both poured their heart into this game and left everything on the pitch for all to witness. Brazil thought they had done all they needed to do as Neymar nestled the ball into the net in Extra time but the Croats had no time to sulk and minutes later they equalised with Petkovic’s first international goal in two years and what time for it to come. Croatia once again proving the doubters wrong with a population of four million they make it to the semi-final and they will march on with all the pride in the world. Croatia win on penalties and Brazil leave Qatar in despair.