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.