Dhe ratings among German national players are likely to have moved to an almost immeasurable level. Japan, first in their group against Croatia in the round of 16, while you’re sitting on the sofa at home, hardly anyone could have dreamed of this before this World Cup. If, out of embarrassment or accident, someone tuned in to the afternoon program on Monday, the loss in the preliminary round after the 2-1 loss to Japan at the start will certainly have felt even more bitter. Because football was not to be feared, what was played on both sides and after 90 minutes went into the first overtime of this World Cup after a 1-1 draw. Daizen Maeda gave Japan the lead from a crowd of 42,500 in the al-Janoub stadium (43rd minute), Ivan Perišić (55th) equalized.
Because nothing worth mentioning happened after that, despite Croatian advantages, penalties were on the late agenda. That became a no-brainer for Croatia, goalkeeper Dominik Livaković saving penalties number one (Minamino), two (Mitoma) and four (Yoshida), allowing the 2018 World Cup runners-up to afford Livaja’s shot against the post, Pasalic putting the finishing touch to 3:1. “It’s the shooter’s instinct and analysis,” said the 27-year-old Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper of his three saves. “They weren’t perfect penalties, I was able to parry them well.” The Croatians had already proven themselves to be specialists for extra shifts in Russia four years ago, on the way to the final they went to penalties twice and went into extra time – that’s the way this time could go as far, however, seems difficult to imagine. In the quarter-finals on Friday it is against Brazil (in the FAZ live ticker for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and on ZDF).
The Japanese, on the other hand, were unable to add to their surprise wins against Germany and Spain, also because they lost courage after a good start. The leap into the last eight at a World Cup was denied them for the third time after 2010 and 2018. “The result is unfortunate for us. But the players can be confident because they competed on the biggest stage. I hope they continue like this. Japanese football can continue to grow,” said Japan national team coach Hajime Moriyasu.
The duel involving a Bundesliga sextet – Endo (Stuttgart), Doan (Freiburg), Kamada (Frankfurt), Yoshida (Schalke) and Kramaric (Hoffenheim) on the one hand and Gvardiol (Leipzig) on the other – began at a moderate World Cup -Level with advantages for Japan. The team was set up and set up more defensively, but was well organized and definitely powerful on the way forward. After three minutes, an Endo cross found Taniguchi in the middle, but Taniguchi’s header went wide. After 12 minutes, Maeda narrowly missed a cross from Ito and then Kamada had the opportunity too, but after letting Lovren fold he shot over the goal.
The Croatians had the ball a lot, but could only do something with it every now and then. First it was Perišić, who opened the way after Tomiyasu’s slip, but was denied by goalkeeper Gonda from a tight angle and Kramaric missed a cross after just under half an hour. The Japanese struck shortly before the break. After a brief corner kick from the right, Doan threw the ball in front of goal, where Yoshida got the ball before Petkovic, who in turn landed at Meaeda’s feet; from close range he had no trouble.
After the break, the Croatians increased the pressure, but the goal to make it 1-1 came out of nowhere. Lovren had a moment too much time to cross from half-court and the ball reached Perišić with pinpoint accuracy, whose skill it was to head in from twelve or thirteen metres. After that, the Croatians ruled the game and had several chances to take the lead. Meanwhile Asano (Bochum) were new for Japan and on the other hand Kramaric was no longer in the game. Not one of the teams wanted to take the last risk anymore. In the extra time it was over for Modrić and Kovačić after almost 100 minutes, Japan regained some of their courage from the initial phase and still had a good chance through Mitoma (105th), but his shot just as badly landed as the last of the Croatians through Majer ( 120.).
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