Dominik Livakovic made the difference for Croatia as he helped his side overcome Brazil 4-2 on penalties to reach the semifinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The goalkeeper made 11 saves during the game as they played out a 1-1 draw to help his side reach penalties.
Croatia defeated favourites Brazil to qualify for the last four of the tournament after their quarterfinal clash at the Education City Stadium. The 2018 runners-up reached the last eight after defeating Japan on penalties in the Round of 16. They faced a Brazil side that breezed past South Korea in their own Round of 16 clash.
Brazil set the pace early in the game with Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Richarlison helping them to fashion openings. They were, however, faced by a brick wall in Dominik Livakovic, who pulled off save after save to deny the Seleçao. Croatia also managed to control possession at intervals but failed to create any clear chances as the game petered out. By the end of the 90 minutes of regulation time, both sides had yet to find the net, forcing the game to go into extra time.
Brazil managed to take the lead in the closing moments of the first half of extra time after some scintillating football, with Neymar at the center of it all. The PSG star played a give and go with Lucas Paqueta before showing great balance to round Livakovic and arrow a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle. It was an epoch-making moment for the star as he equalled Pele’s record haul of 77 goals for the Seleçao, and seemingly sent his country into the last four.
When all hope seemed lost, Croatia found an unlikely goal with just their first shot on target as substitute Bruno Petkovic fired an effort into the back of the net in the 117th minute thanks to a deflection from Marquinhos.
After both sides ended extra time level, the game went to penalties. Livakovic managed to save Brazil’s first penalty from Rodrygo after Nikola Vlasic had opened the scoring for Croatia. Lovro Majer, Luka Modric and Mislav Orsic scored for Croatia, while Casemiro and Pedro scored for Brazil. Marquinhos saw his decisive penalty come back off the woodwork, sealing Brazil’s defeat.
Croatia have now reached the semifinals of the World Cup for a second successive edition. They will take on one of Argentina or Netherlands for a place in the final. For Brazil, it’s another story of disappointment as their stars failed to carry the national team to World Cup glory.