In the FIFA 2022 World Cup Round of 16, Japan took a hard lesson from Croatia with a 3-1 penalty loss after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time.
Daizen Maeda’s halftime opener from Maya Yoshida’s assist was canceled by Ivan Perisic’s second-half header provided by Dejan Lovren, but that was followed by more than an hour of goalless football and required penalties to separate the two.
Vatreni’s protagonist, Dominik Livakovic, made three penalty saves with the hapless fall players Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Yoshida, who saw Samurai Blue’s efforts get repelled, to prevent him from making it to the quarterfinals.
After the match, Ritsu Doan said, “The result of the penalties cannot be anyone’s fault.” “The problem was that we couldn’t complete the game in 120 minutes.”
“Words are hard to find,” Yuto Nagatomo added. “I think our regret for this loss will lead to better things in the years to come.”
Croatia’s Marko Livaja’s failure to change his own goal was purely academic thanks to Livakovic’s masterclass that brought back memories of the feats of 2018 when Danijel Subasic was the third goalkeeper in Russia to save four or more kicks at the World Cup.
In fact, there were some eerie parallels between 2022 and 2018 Round of 16 victories, with both matches going to penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes, and every Croatian shot-stopper made a triple save to send his nation.
As Kockasti made a habit of going beyond the 90 minutes on the way to the final, Subasic went on to stop another point striker against hosts Russia in the quarterfinals – perhaps an omen of his rerun.
However, even though Croatia did well in these conditions, Japan looked like they had been beaten alive by this event as Minamino, Mitoma and Yoshida made a weak collective attempt to book an Asian quarterfinal match when they were well positioned to do so.
The AS Monaco, Brighton and Hove Albion and Schalke 04 players will likely be pardoned for their failures, given the overall positive performance of Hajime Moriyasu’s men, but that won’t stop the remorse over a series of poorly executed penalties that will likely be of paramount importance. in the future.
While defending his players, Moryasu said, “I don’t think they bowed to the pressure.” The players who played the 120 minutes and the players who scored the penalties were brave. I appreciate their hard work, they worked under enormous pressure. Of course we wanted to win and the result is unfortunate, but that doesn’t affect us negatively.” We didn’t make it to the last eight but the players were able to show a new generation of Japanese football.”
When asked if their preparations were adequate, Moriyasu added, “Penalties are a mix of luck and education.” “Their goalkeepers were excellent but the Japanese players had to do better and that is something we need to work on in the future.”
Croatia’s monstrous mentality at that final stage was shaped by the fact that most of their international qualifiers were over 90 minutes — seven of the last eight games, the only exception being their 2018 loss to France in Moscow.
In fact, Zlatko Dalic’s men rely on this mental toughness now more than ever, especially on offense, where they’ve drawn two out of three Group F matches 0-0 and aren’t as well-equipped as they were four years ago.
Croatia deserves praise for its battle-hardened mentality, which has been developed and consolidated under Dalic over the past five years or so, but Japan will feel like it will take a place in the quarterfinals and maybe go this generation at least once. further step