Croatia penalty save

Croatia defeated Japan 3-1 on penalty kicks to keep its World Cup dream alive.

Croatian keeper Dominik Livaković was the star of the show, making three saves in the shootout. Croatia buried its first two chances before hitting the post on the third and sending Japan home with a make in the fourth round.

If this story seems familiar to Croatian fans, that’s because it is. In the Round of 16 in 2018, a Croatian keeper made three saves in the shootout to help his team move on. It was Danijel Subašić then, with Livaković looking on from the sidelines. Livaković didn’t make an appearance then, but he made a huge impression this time and became the third goalkeeper to save three penalties in one World Cup shootout.

The record number of saves made in a shootout in one World Cup is four, held by Subašić and Argentina’s Sergio Goycochea.

Croatia is built for these games that go long. The Vatreni went to extra time in every knockout game on its way to the Final in 2018.

  • Round of 16: won 3-2 vs. Denmark on penalties
  • Quarterfinals: won 4-3 vs. Russia on penalties
  • Semifinals: won 2-1 vs. England in ET

Japan seized the lead in the first half through a goal in the 43rd minute. Croatia leveled early in the second and it stayed deadlocked throughout regular and extra time. The Samurai Blue made it to the knockout round in back-to-back World Cups but they became the second Asian Football Conferadation team knocked out in as many days after Australia fell to Argentina on Sunday.