Connect with us


Croatia Ends Japan's Unforgettable Run at the FIFA World Cup in a Penalty Shootout

After stunning upsets of Germany and Spain in Group E at the FIFA World Cup, the Samurai Blue were eliminated in the round of 16 for the fourth time.



Japan teammates (from left) Daichi Kamada, Maya Yoshida, Takuma Asano and Yuto Nagatomo react after losing to Croatia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in a round of 16 match that ended in a penalty shootout on December 5 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (ⒸSANKEI)

This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website.

Second-half drama defined Japan's comeback victories over former FIFA World Cup champions Germany and Spain in Group E matches on November 23 and December 1.

There was no spellbinding comeback in the quarterfinals for the Samurai Blue. Instead, Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runner-up defeated Japan 3-1 in a penalty shootout in a round of 16 match on Monday night, December 5 in Al Wakrah, Qatar.

The Samurai Blue's hopes of reaching the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ended at 2:44 AM JST on Tuesday.

Up next: World No. 12 Croatia, riding a 10-match unbeaten streak in international play this year, faces Brazil, which defeated South Korea 4-1 in Monday's second round of 16 match, on Friday, December 9.

Daizen Maeda scored for Japan in the 43rd minute. Croatia's Ivan Perisic tied it at 1-1 in the 55th minute. 

In 30 minutes of extra time, neither team scored, forcing penalty kicks to determine the winner at Al Janoub Stadium.

Read the full story on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

Subscribe to Ed Odeven's weekly sports newsletter.

Our Partners