Croatia are shootout kings and the Samba Boys are dancing again
Japan lost out on penalties to Croatia in the first game of the day and Brazil destroyed a hapless South Korea side to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals
Croatia needed a Superman figure and they got one in Dominik Livakovic. The goalkeeper was the undisputed hero in the shootout with three good saves.
It felt as though Japan were overwhelmed by the burden of the spot-kicks and they hit some of the worst penalties you will see at this level. The game itself ended 1-1 in regular time. Daizen Maeda opened the scoring for Japan before Ivan Perisic equalized 10 minutes after the restart.
Penalties are a lottery but at this level, it requires skill and nerve, all of which were lacking from the Japanese penalty takers.
Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and the captain, Maya Yoshida all missed before Mario Pasalic converted the fourth and third successful spot-kick for Croatia to send the fans in the stadium into delirium.
Neymar returns to help Brazil demolish South-Korea
Tournament favorites Brazil faced South Korea with a quarter final spot up for grabs. They not only grabbed it with both hands but the samba boys danced all over their opponents.
Neymar returned to the starting lineup, to the delight of millions of Brazilian fans and he was involved in everything positive going forward. As was Vinicius Junior who opened the scoring for Brazil after 7 minutes. The floodgates opened right after and Neymar converted from the spot to make it 2-0.
Brazil kept pushing forward and Richarlison made it 3-0 by applying the finish to a sweet team move. Lucas Paqueta scored the fourth for Brazil just before halftime to outline their first-half dominance. A late goal for South Korea did nothing to dampen Brazilian spirits