Friday, January 27, 2023

Croatia beat Japan on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals

The Vatreni went into extra time three times in their run to the 2018 World Cup Final, and they used that experience to keep their 2022 hopes alive.
The team edged Japan 1-1 (3-1) on penalty kicks in their round of 16 contest at Al Janoub Stadium on Monday. Nikola Vlašić, Marcelo Brozović and Mario Pašalić scored in the penalty shootout, but the story for Croatia came in goal.
Dominik Livaković was on Croatia’s 2018 World Cup squad, but he did not see any game action in Russia. The goalkeeper was ready for his moment against Japan, stopping Takumi Minamino on the first penalty kick attempt and blocking Kaoru Mitoma on the second. Takuma Asano scored on Japan’s third try, but Livaković got a third save by stymying Maya Yoshida on the next shot. Pašalić followed that up with the game-winner to send Croatia into the quarterfinals.
Daizen Maeda opened the scoring in the 43rd minute of the match. Japan threaded some passes off a corner kick before sending a cross into the box, and the ball found Maeda. The Celtic forward capitalized from close range and gave Japan its first World Cup halftime lead since its opening match of the 2014 group stage.
Japan’s lead didn’t last long into the second half, though. Ivan Perišić put home an equalizer on a header in the 55th minute to tie the score at 1-1. The goal was Perišić’s first of the tournament and put him in a tie with Davor Šuker as Croatia’s all-time World Cup goals leader.
Croatia will now play in the first quarterfinal of the 2022 World Cup on Friday.
England beat Senegal 3-0, reach quarterfinals
England captain Harry Kane scored his first goal of this year’s World Cup, helping his team beat Senegal 3-0 Sunday and setting up a match against France in the quarterfinals.
Kane scored for the 52nd time for his country to move within one of Wayne Rooney’s England record. He also overtook Gary Lineker as his country’s leading scorer in major tournaments with 11 goals.
“The ball just sat up nicely and the connection was perfect,” Kane said. “I had one just before that I should have done better with so it was nice to see that one go in.”
Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka also scored at Al Bayt Stadium while Jude Bellingham played a key role in the opening two goals and Phil Foden had two assists.
England, which reached the semifinals at the last World Cup in Russia, will face defending champion France at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.
“We enjoyed this one, but of course our focus turns straight to that,” Kane said. “It’s going to be a really tough game. They’re reigning champions but it’ll be a good battle.”
The must-see contest will feature the tournament’s leading scorer in Kylian Mbappe and one of its standout players in Bellingham. Mbappe scored twice against Poland in a 3-1 victory to take his total at this year’s World Cup to five goals.
Bellingham only has the one he scored in England’s opening 6-2 rout of Iran, but his game is about so much more.
Up to then, Senegal had been creating the more dangerous chances. Ismaila Sarr sent a shot over from close range and then England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had to throw out an arm to block another effort from Boulaye Dia.
All that without the team’s player, Sadio Mane, who was ruled out of the tournament with an injury before play even started in Qatar.
Everything changed once Bellingham seized control, charging into the box before setting up Henderson. In first-half stoppage time, he went on another unstoppable run, carrying the ball from just outside England’s box and deep into Senegal’s half. Foden then played in Kane to double England’s lead.
With the 1966 World Cup champions well on their way to a showdown with France, Saka scored in the 57th minute by converting Foden’s cross.
Staying power: The match was played to the beat of the Senegal fans’ drums, which provided the soundtrack from start to finish. England’s fans struggled to be heard over the noise — even when the result was beyond doubt.
Sterling Wait: Raheem Sterling was ruled out before the match started because of a “family matter.” England coach Gareth Southgate did not offer any indication if or when the forward would be able to return.
Record Set: Bellingham became the youngest England player to provide an assist at a World Cup.
TODAY’S ROUND OF 16
Morocco vs Spain
8:30pm
Portugal vs Switzerland
12:30am (Wednesday)

England’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during round of 16 soccer match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor Sunday.
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