Croatia ● Road to The Semi-finals | FIFA World Cup 2022 – Download here

FIFA World Cup, Croatia’s road to semi-finals: From goalless draw to defeating favourites Brazil

FIFA World Cup: Croatia had an average outing in the group stage, playing two goalless draws, but won both their knockout stage games through penalty shootouts.

Croatia have again stunned the football world reaching the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup when they were considered to be underdogs. However, they have done the unexpected, reaching the semi-final of back-to-back World Cups and are just one match away from taking a position in the final.

“We are really showing many, many (good) results with our country. Nobody expects this, nobody believes in us, never, so that’s why it’s really emotional when you achieve things like this,” defender Borna Sosa said being emotional after his side beat football giants Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Croatia, to everyone’s surprise, had made it to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and lost to France to finish runners-up. But the European nation reaching the semi-finals once again should establish that they are marching ahead leaps and bounds, and reaching the final in the last edition was no fluke.

We take a look at how they managed to reach the penultimate stage once again, which includes defeating Brazil in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinal.

Group F

Croatia 0 – 0 Morocco

Croatia 4- 1 Canada

Croatia 0 – 0 Belgium

Knockout stages

Last 16: Croatia 1 (3) – 1 (1) Japan

Quarters: Croatia 1 (4) – (2) 1 Brazil

Group Stage

Croatia 0 – 0 Morocco

At the start of the World Cup, a matchup that Croatia should have dominated was held to a draw by a persistent Morocco side. Croatians looked as if they lacked the sting and punch.

Both sides made a few attempts at the goalpost, but that wasn’t enough to convert for any of them.

This also made changes to the statistician’s records as it was the first goalless World Cup match for Croatia (in 12 games) after their contest against Japan in 2006.

Croatia 4 – 1 Canada

After playing an unexpected draw against Morocco, Croatia came out determined and knocked Canada out of the World Cup with a thumping 4-1 victory.

Canada started the proceedings with a goal in the 2nd minute and took the lead, but Croatia took the charge eventually and were unstoppable. They scored two goals each on either side of halftime.

Andrej Kramaric starred with a brace, while Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer also scored one goal each.

Canada had one of the fastest goals in World Cup history and clearly the fastest of 2022. The last time a team lost scoring earlier than Canada was France when they went down to Italy in 1978 after scoring in 29 seconds.

Croatia 0 – 0 Belgium

It was a day when Croatia started with a sting and dominated right from the start. So much so that they had a chance inside the first 20 seconds.

However, things started to turn tense as the match progressed. Belgium started being more aggressive with time and had plenty of shots, but hardly any on target to Croatia’s luck.

Croatia managed to salvage themselves as a defeat would have surely seen them out of the contest. It was not a good day for Romelu Lukaku as the striker let go of several easy chances in front of the net.

Croatia remained unbeaten in the group stage and for the second consecutive World Cup went into the knockout stages.

Knockout stages

Last 16: Croatia 1 (3) – 1 (1) Japan

Croatia’s goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic became the hero of the nation after he saved three shots in the penalty shootout against Japan.

Croatia and Japan were tied at one goal each after 120 minutes. Japan had taken the lead in the 43rd minute of the match but Croatia were competent enough to level and did so 10 minutes into the second half.

Despite the score line being equal at the end of regulation time, Croatia were the stronger team and dictated the terms for the majority of the game.

Luka Modric was hailed for showing great amount of energy on the field and inspiring his teammates.

Quarters: Croatia 1 (4) – 1 (2) Brazil

In what was a dream-like victory, Croatia defeated Brazil in the quarter-final match on Friday and eliminated the World Cup favourites.

“For me Brazil is football, and football is Brazil. To beat Brazil is maybe the best feeling ever,” an ecstatic Sosa said after the match.

The win was more special as Croatia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. After the first 90 minutes were goalless, Neymar scored for Brazil in the first half of the extra time.

But Bruno Petkovic equalised in the 117th minute for Croatia and ensured they had one more say before the match ended.

Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was once again brilliant as he saved Brazil’s first shot from Rodrygo and gave an edge to Croatia straight away.

And history was created when Marquinhos hit the post on Brazil’s fourth kick and Croatia, who already had four shots in the net won the quarter-final to reach the second consecutive semi-final of the FIFA World Cup.


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