Croatia team outlasted stubborn Japan yesterday and advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals, 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
For a while, it seemed as if Japan would take advantage of Croatia’s age, attacking and more than meriting its 1-0 lead at halftime. But slowly, surely, the businesslike Croatian team squeezed all of the fun out of Japan.
In the second half, the grizzled old warrior Ivan Perisic scored on a header to tie the match, and in the shootout, Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic stopped three shots.
In the quarterfinals, Croatia will face Brazil, which defeated South Korea yesterday, 4-1 — a score that did not fully capture the team’s carefree dominance. Brazil’s display surely cemented its status as one of the favorites to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy on Dec. 18, and it will be favored over Croatia on Friday.