Croatia has knocked tournament favourites Brazil out of the World Cup, beating the five-time champions 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
The 2018 runners-up came through their second consecutive shootout after beating Japan also on penalties in the last 16 and will now face either the Netherlands or Argentina who play each other later.
The Croats kept their composure from the penalty spot. Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved a penalty attempt by Rodrygo and Marquinhos later hit the post.
Through a tense opening half at the Education City Stadium on Friday, there was nothing to separate tournament favourites Brazil and Croatia, with both sides enjoying half chances in a free-flowing game, but nothing clear-cut.
If anything, Croatia enjoyed the best chance of the half, when, after 13 minutes, Ivan Perisic could only miss-cue a whipped Mario Pasalic cross past Alisson’s goalpost.
The Brazilians, who have now lost four of their last five World Cup quarter-finals all to European opposition, enjoyed a much better start to the second half and came close again in the 66th when Lucas Paqueta was denied by Livakovic.
The Croatia keeper was kept busy and stopped Neymar in the 76th and by that time had more saves in the match (seven) than his Brazil counterpart, Alisson, had in the entire tournament (five).
Livakovic parried another Paqueta shot five minutes later as the few hundred Brazil fans in the stands grew louder and more impatient and the game trickled over to extra time with Brazil coach Tite visibly nervous.
After a scoreless 90 minutes Brazil took a 1-0 lead with a bit of extra time solo magic from Neymar but gritty Croatia refused to quit, and equalised when Bruno Petkovic scored in the 117th.
Neymar’s goal moved him into a tie with Pelé as Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals.
Croatia will next face either Argentina or the Netherlands who play later tonight.
More to follow.