Hammer on target as Croatia sneak through

  • by Staff Writer
  • Monday, 5th December 2022

West Ham's Niko Vlasic scored from the penalty spot to help Croatia through to the quarter finals of the World Cup.

For the first time in the tournament penalties were required to decide the last 16 tie with Japan, who led 1-0 through Daizen Maeda before conceding an equaliser ten minutes into the second half (Ivan Perisic).

And with no further goals coming during the regulation 90 minutes or extra time, spot kicks were required to decide who would proceed to the last eight.

Embed from Getty Images

Sadly for Japan they fell apart from 12 yards, missing three of their four spot kicks before Mario Pasalic fired home to secure a 3-1 shootout success for the Europeans.

Vlasic, who is spending the season on loan with Torino in Italy was introduced as a 99th minute substitute for Mateo Kovacic before being tasked with taking his side's first penalty, which put the Croats ahead after Takumi Minamino has missed the first spot kick of the shootout.

Koru Mitoma then missed Japan's second before with Marcelo Brozovic put Croatia 2-0 ahead. And although Takuma Asano scored their third, with Marko Livaja's miss halving the gap Maya Yoshida's miss left Palasic with the task of wrapping up a win for Croatia who have now won three shootouts in major competitions in a row.

The quarter final draw now looks as follows:

Croatia v Brazil or South Korea (Friday 9 December, 3pm)
Netherlands v Argentina (Friday 9 December, 7pm)
Morocco or Spain v Portugal or Switzerland (Saturday 10 December, 3pm)
England v France (Saturday 10 December, 7pm)

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