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Croatia's minimalism rewarded: goalkeeper reminds of 2018

2022-12-05T19:26:57.604Z

Croatia's minimalism rewarded: goalkeeper reminds of 2018 Created: 2022-12-05Updated: 2022-12-05, 8:20 p.m The Croatian players celebrate their goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. © Robert Michael/dpa Like four years ago at the World Cup in Russia, the Croatian keeper saved three penalties in the round of 16. But the vice world champion is no longer as strong as in 2018. Japan sees the foundation for



Croatia's minimalism rewarded: goalkeeper reminds of 2018

Created: 2022-12-05Updated: 2022-12-05, 8:20 p.m

The Croatian players celebrate their goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

© Robert Michael/dpa

Like four years ago at the World Cup in Russia, the Croatian keeper saved three penalties in the round of 16.

But the vice world champion is no longer as strong as in 2018.

Japan sees the foundation for an era.

Al-Wakra - Penalty hero Dominik Livakovic himself moaned about the minimalism of his Croatian standing footballers.

Because the vice world champion from 2018 around superstar Luka Modric largely refused attacking football against the unfortunate Germany shock Japan in the World Cup round of 16, goalkeeper Livakovic was required this time.

"It's important to win.

It is better to solve this beforehand.

Penalties are always risky,” said the 27-year-old Dinamo Zagreb keeper after his three saved shots from the spot in the 3-1 penalty shootout at Al-Wakra.

This time Livakovic, who had been a reserve keeper at the World Cup four years ago, stole the show from a disappointing Modric.

"Livakovic solved all our problems," said Croatia's national coach Zlatko Dalic.

"We had a fantastic goalkeeper.

He was great, he saved the penalties in an impressive way.” Modric, on the other hand, was substituted after 98 minutes in extra time and was unable to take a penalty himself.

Memory of 2018

Once again it looks like the Croatians are cheating their way through the tournament again.

In 2018, too, two successful penalties against Denmark and Russia were necessary in the round of 16 and quarterfinals before extra time against England went into the final in Moscow.

Only there did it draw 2:4 against France.

Four years ago against the Danes, the then Croatian number one Danijel Subasic saved three penalties.

Apart from the two Croatians, only the Portuguese Ricardo has managed this in the history of the World Cup in 2006 against England.

"We continued the tradition from four years ago," said Livakovic, who had to take a deep breath on the press podium.

There isn't much left of the glamor that started

It wasn't strong what Croatia showed against busy Japanese.

Even the equalization of the former Bundesliga professional Ivan Perisic in regular time (55th minute) came out of nowhere.

The Croatians were better in the second half than in the first half and gained control of the game.

Still, the Croatian game was static and far too slow by modern standards in world football.

Even in the preliminary round, one good game against outsiders Canada (4:1) was enough to advance.

With two goalless draws against Morocco and above all Belgium, the Dalic team had trembled - again this time a lot of luck was involved.

Croatia's Ivan Perisic (r) cheers after his goal to make it 1-1.

© Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/dpa

"We're on the right level to go far again," said the coach.

"For us, this World Cup is far from over." But there is not much left of the glory of the 2018 World Cup, when the Croatians stormed into the round of 16 with three wins and 7-1 goals.

Even Modric, for whose strokes of genius the Croatians waited in vain this time, is not so undisputed that he should have gone through the 120-minute fight against Japan.

Japan far too ineffective in attack

The 2018 World Cup runners-up can be fortunate that the more committed Japanese were far too ineffective in attack.

More than the well-deserved 1-0 from Daizen Maeda (43rd) did not want to fall, despite some good chances.

As a result, the Blue Samurai, who had beaten the former world champions Germany and Spain 2-1 in the preliminary round, missed the first quarter-finals of the World Cup in the fourth attempt.

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Croatia moves into the quarter-finals after a penalty thriller against Japan

The Japanese celebrate the goal scorer to 1-0 against Croatia Daizen Maeda (2nd from left).

© kyodo/Kyodo/dpa

“But the players can be confident because they competed on the biggest stage.

I hope they continue like this.

The players ushered in a new era in Japanese football,” said Japan national coach Hariyeme Moriyasu, who defended his misses Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Schalke's Maya Yoshida despite weak penalties.

Even before the game, the emotional coach was close to tears.

"I think Croatia's goalkeeper was just great," said Moriyasu, although Livakovic himself admitted: "They weren't perfect penalties, I was able to save them well." Joker Mario Pasalic then converted the decisive penalty for the World Cup runners-up.

dpa

Source: merkur

All sports articles on 2022-12-05

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