Croatia stuns Brazil on penalties to book semi-final spot

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2018 runners-up Croatia stunned tournament favourites Brazil 4-2 on the penalty shoot-out to make their way into the second consecutive semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.

The enthralling quarter-final finished at 1-1 after the extra time as Bruno Petkovic neutralized what was expected to be the match-winning goal from Neymar Jr at the brink of the first half of extra time.

The teams were evenly matched throughout the nail-biting contest and put on a defiant show to bar the opposition from breaking the deadlock and eventually forced the match to enter extra time.

Brazil’s star player Neymar Jr finally broke the deadlock at the end of the first half of extra time, working one-twos with Rodrygo and Lucas Paqueta before rounding goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to score.

Bruno Petkovic, however, neutralized Brazil’s lead minutes later to keep Croatia alive in the world cup. Mislav Orsic collected down the left flank and drove it to the edge of the box and picked Petkovic in the middle, who swept a left-footed strike towards the goal, which took a deflection from Marquinhos and deceived Alisson Becker before crashing in the nets.

Five-time champions Brazil then put on a dismal show in the shoot-out as Rodrygo, who came out to open for Tite’s side, saw his strike blocked by Livakovic.

Marquinhos, who had to score for Brazil to keep his side in the game, hit the woodwork at the most crucial time and top favourites Brazil crashed out as Croatia converted all four penalties.