FAVOURITES Brazil have been sent packing from the Qatar 2022 World Cup after a 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Croatia in the quarter-finals today.
Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the hero for the Croats, making crucial saves in open play and during the shootout.
Full-time ended 0-0, with Livakovic making eight saves, thwarting the inventive Brazilians time after time.
Croatia based their game on solid defending but they also attempted to cause problems for Brazil on the break.
After 90 minutes produced no goals, Brazil got the breakthrough early in extra-time.
Neymar shot the five-time world champions into the lead in the added time of the first half of extra-time.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward brilliantly finished off a superb move by rounding Livakovic and hammering the ball into the roof of the net.
With the strike, Neymar took his tally to 77 goals for Brazil, moving level with the legendary Pele as the joint-highest scorer in their history.
Neymar’s historic goal was soon overshadowed though as Croatia equalised three minutes before the final whistle.
Bruno Petkovic latched on to a low cross from the left and his shot took a wicked deflection off Marquinhos and went past goalkeeper Alisson.
The tie went into a shootout and Croatia scored all their four kicks while Brazil missed two from the four they took.
Rodrygo’s penalty was saved by Livakovic, while Marquinhos hit the post with his. Casemiro and Pedro scored.
Livakovic has now made four penalty shootout saves, and no goalkeeper in World Cup history has made more.
Nicola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Luka Modric and Mislav Orsic all converted their kicks for Croatia as they reached a second consecutive World Cup semi-final.
Croatia, who beat Japan in a shootout in the round of 16, are undefeated in World Cup penalties, winning the four times they have been involved.