After a tense last-eight tie that ended 1-1 at the end of extra time, Croatia stunned favorites Brazil to reach the World Cup semi-finals by defeating them 4-2 on penalties.
Marquinhos missed the crucial penalty kick in the shootout when he needed to score to keep Brazil in the game after Rodrygo’s earlier attempt was saved by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Croatia converted all four penalties. Marquinhos hit the post when he was supposed to score.
It was a remarkable turnaround after Brazil appeared to be on their way to victory when Neymar equaled Pele’s record of 77 international goals with a wonderful strike midway through extra time.
Bruno Petkovic, on the other side, scored in the 117th minute to force Croatia into a shootout. Zlatko Dalic’s team won this game, which must be their greatest victory ever, after beating Japan on penalties in the previous round.
They make it to the semis, but Brazil won’t be able to win a record-extending sixth title for at least four more years.
At the conclusion of the first half of extra time, Brazil took the lead thanks to Neymar’s one-twos with Rodrygo and Lucas Paqueta before Neymar rounded goalkeeper Livakovic to score. He left the field in tears.
However, Croatia’s resistance persisted, and the 2018 World Cup winners came back to level.
Brazil had never played with as much attacking flair as they did in their victory over South Korea in the 16th round.
With the exception of their loss to France in the World Cup final four years ago, Croatia has now gone to extra time in eight of their last nine knockout matches in major tournaments. They were as stubborn and difficult to break down as ever.
Brazil would never be able to play with the same freedom and joy as they did during their victory over South Korea, when they celebrated their goals with choreographed dance moves that seemed to irritate some spectators.