With the clang of a post, Croatia silences Brazil at the World Cup (2023)


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RAYYAN, Qatar — Even as Brazil’s past four World Cup ousters came freighted with their particular agonies, what hit the soccer colossus Friday night might make those seem almost soothing. It figures to become one of those sports fates that takes up lodging like some anvil in the mind and sits around in there for decades.

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It, after all, happened after a Brazilian celebration.

It happened after what looked like a comprehension of impending victory.

It happened after Brazil led through 116 minutes and as the game clock skipped merrily for its last five minutes toward near-certain giddiness, a semifinal berth and the further upgrade of the legend of Neymar.

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Then Croatia, the small giant of Europe, scored.

Then the evening with a full moon preening from above the open roof of Education City Stadium drifted to penalty kicks before 43,893, with the final score of 1-1 and 4-2 on penalties almost predictable given the standing of Croatia and its goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, as penalty maestros.


Then agony turned up everywhere in bright yellow, right after Marquinhos’s final penalty rammed against the left post and caromed back, and the Croatian players in their stylish checkerboard shirts made a mad ­U-shaped run toward Livakovic until they caught him. Agony appeared in Marquinhos crumpling to a heap on the pitch as the Croatians ran around him; in Neymar’s crestfallen face and the tears that soon roamed it; in the fans of the sexiest team in the world crying from their seats; in Brazilians accepting hugs from Croatia’s gracious 37-year-old forever star, Luka Modric; and in the voice of the 61-year-old Brazil manager, Tite, as he wrapped up a six-year cycle and prepared to hand the world’s most dazzling set of players to a successor.

“I think we need to be ready to share our joy [when there’s joy],” he said, “and we also need to be willing to share our sadness.”

They will share that among their fellow 217 million, who might discuss how the beauty of the team that felled South Korea, 4-1, on Monday ran up against the wisdom and order of Croatia and how, in sports, order often thwarts beauty. They might lament, if brave, on how and why, why, why, Croatia scored in the 117th minute, when Modric initiated a counterattack from midfield, fed a pass on the left to fresh substitute Mislav Orsic and saw Orsic cross across the top of the box to the right to Bruno Petrovic, another substitute, whose one-timer glanced off a Brazilian shin, rocketed past goalkeeper Alisson into the left side and pulled the plug on a giant chunk of glee in South America.

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“Again, we demonstrate what it is not to surrender,” said Vlatko Dalic, the Croatia manager. “We demonstrate what Croatia is and what it means to be Croatian.”


It means piling a semifinal berth atop that finalist finish from 2018 and exacting more out of a population than anybody on Earth on a soccer pitch — they draw from a wee 4.2 million — but that won’t concern the Brazilians primed to spend decades wincing, who know full well Brazil’s good taste in European conquerors, of which it’s amassing such a rangy collection. Make it five straight great-big Brazilian sighs since their record fifth and most recent title in 2002, the sighs strewn from 2006 to 2022 and strewn all over the world against France (1-0 in a 2006 quarterfinal in Frankfort), the Netherlands (2-1 in a 2010 quarterfinal in Port Elizabeth, South Africa), Germany (7-1 in a 2014 semifinal in Belo Horizonte), Belgium (2-1 in a 2018 quarterfinal in Kazan, Russia) and now Croatia (2022 quarterfinal).

As the last World Cup on that list carries on without its loudest team, Brazilians might carry on and carry on. They might recollect how they felt in the first minute of added time in the first half of the 30-minute extra time, right after the clock struck 105 and the public address said, “One minute of added time.”

They might note how right then, Brazil made some art after so much fine hindrance from the Croatia defense and the rugged Croatian stomach, which had spent the match keeping glaring chances rare to none. They might remember glumly how all of a sudden there came a classic Brazilian play from midfield in which maybe five Brazilians, including Rodrygo and Pedro, touched the ball with purpose. It wound up in a pretty flurry of touches near at the middle top of the box, with Lucas Paqueta sliding it under to Neymar on the right and Neymar shedding defender Borna Sosa and then circling around mighty Livakovic and reaching the right post and banging it into the roof.

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What a crescendo.


For mild consolation, they might even discuss the otherworldly determination on Neymar’s face during that play and how that face flattered him further because of how much he cares, how he has already turned 30 with the World Cups dwindling, how his longtime search for a World Cup moment had found its way to a World Cup moment and, oh, yeah, how he tied Pelé atop the all-time list with 77 Brazil goals.

How could a loss follow upon all of that?

If really, really brave, the earthlings who love Brazil might even drift to the penalties. They might know that four of the five Croatian victories in the knockout stages of 2018 and 2022 have come by penalties and that in front of goalkeepers Danijel Subasik in 2018 and Livakovic in 2022, opponents from Denmark, Russia, Japan and Brazil have attempted 16 penalty kicks and missed 10. “We are raised as fighters, giving our best, and that’s the recipe for success,” said Livakovic, who excelled all match.

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More than that, they will know that Brazil converted just two of four, a nervous sequence that began with Livakovic climbing all over Rodrygo’s bang to the right and ended with Marquinhos sprawled sadly. All four Croatian attempts went in laced with certainty. “It has become normal for us,” Dalic said. “When it comes to penalty situations, we are the favorite as if our opponents have already lost the game when it comes to penalty shootouts.”


His globally admired midfield of Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic, with their wow of a combined cap total of 331, swayed play all day because, Dalic said: “They were not hasty. That was the most important point.” His team, which barely made it out of the group stage when Belgium couldn’t convert some glaring chances, persisted as a surprise but also as a surprise that it’s a surprise. His defender, Sosa, wound up on the floor of the Croatia goal after Neymar’s goal, looking wrecked and spent and crushed.

Yet still somehow, the night left Tite closing down his Brazil tenure with two quarterfinal exits in World Cups, the latter more harrowing than the former. He sounded professorial as he answered questions one last post-match time. And when the last one concerned his bountiful substitutions, five of them, including Rodrygo for the great but less-effective Vinícius Júnior in the 64th minute, he said: “Yes, yes, I do understand. I understand the pain, and I understand all the criticisms people have toward my choices.”

Those, too, will linger in Brazilian air for decades.

World Cup in Qatar

World champions: Argentina has won the World Cup, defeating France in penalty kicks in a thrilling final in Lusail, Qatar, for its first world championship since 1986. Argentina was led by global soccer star Lionel Messi in what is expected to be his final World Cup appearance. France was bidding to become the first repeat champion since Brazil won consecutive trophies in 1958 and 1962.

Today’s WorldView: In the minds of many critics, especially in the West, Qatar’s World Cup will always be a tournament shrouded in controversy. But Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, wants people to take another view.

Perspective: “America is not a men’s soccer laughingstock right now. It’s onto something, and it’s more attuned to what’s working for the rest of the world rather than stubbornly forcing an American sports culture — without the benefit of best-of-the-best talent — into international competition.” Read Jerry Brewer on the U.S. men’s national team’s future.

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What happened with Brazil and Croatia? ›

Croatia has knocked tournament favourites Brazil out of the World Cup, beating the five-time champions 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals after the score was even after 120 minutes.

Is Brazil out of the World Cup if they lose against Croatia? ›

Brazil, the favorite to win this year's World Cup, is out of Qatar 2022 after losing to Croatia on penalties 1-1 (4-2) in Friday's dramatic quarterfinal.

What was the penalty between Brazil and Croatia? ›

Croatia won 4-2 on penalties. Dominik Livakovic was the hero as Croatia beat Brazil in a penalty shoot-out to book their place in the World Cup semi-final after a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Why Brazil lost to Croatia in World Cup? ›

Because while Brazil did have their chances, they were interspersed with needlessly long periods of Croatian possession. The front four, plus Lucas Paqueta, attacking and the back four, plus Alisson, defending scheme wasn't yielding results.

What happens if Croatia and Brazil tie in the World Cup? ›

If at the end of regular time in the Brazil and Croatia clash in the World Cup, the score is tied, the sides would play two 15-minute periods of extra time. If the score still remains tied, that will face the winner of the Netherlands vs Argentina matchup in the Quarter-Finals will be decided on penalties.

Did Croatia eliminate Brazil? ›

Tifo video: How Croatia knocked Brazil out of the World Cup

World cup favourites Brazil were sensationally knocked out by Croatia on Friday. Neymar gave Brazil the lead in extra time but Bruno Petkovic equalised five minutes from time to take the game to penalties, which Croatia won 4-2.

What is the controversy with Brazil at the World Cup? ›

After numerous deaths in football stadiums, Brazil passed a law in 2003 outlawing alcohol sales in stadiums. FIFA demanded that Brazil allow alcohol sales at the World Cup because Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor, was the "Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup", a role it had played since 1986.

Can Brazil be knocked out of World Cup? ›

World Cup 2022: Brazil knocked out after losing to Croatia on penalties.

Does Croatia have a chance at beating Brazil? ›

Brazil are -260 favorites (risk $260 to win $100) on the 90-minute money line in Caesars Sportsbook's latest Croatia vs. Brazil odds. Croatia are +675 underdogs, a draw is priced at +370, and the over/under for total match goals is 2.5. Brazil are -650 to advance, while Croatia are +375.

Why did Croatia get penalty in World Cup? ›

"We conceded a goal, which was very suspicious. The situation leading to the penalty... it was a little too cheap, a bit too easy to be honest. "Our goalkeeper did what he did and these are the new rules. This goal took the match in a different direction."

Why did Brazil get eliminated? ›

Brazil eliminated from World Cup after losing to Croatia in penalty shootout in quarterfinals. Brazil eliminated from World Cup after losing to Croatia in penalty shootout in quarterfinals. The latest Padres, Chargers and Aztecs headlines along with the other top San Diego sports stories every morning.

How many times has Croatia defeated Brazil? ›

The Soccer Teams Croatia and Brazil played 4 Games since 2005. Among them, Croatia won 0 games (Total goals 2, PPG 0.5), Brazil won 3 (Total goals 7, PPG 1.8), and drew 1. Croatia vs Brazil Past H2H Results, Asian Handicap Win%: 100.0%, Total Goals Over%: 50.0%.

Which team removed Brazil from World Cup? ›

FIFA World Cup 2022: Brazil Fans Back Home Shocked After World Cup Elimination. Brazil football fans were shocked into silence back home after the national team was eliminated by Croatia from the World Cup on Friday.

What happens if two countries tie in the World Cup? ›

If two or more countries finish level on points in the World Cup group stage, overall goal difference is the chief tiebreaker used by FIFA, global football's governing body, to separate the teams.

What happens if everything is tied in the World Cup? ›

In case of a tie in goal difference, the team with more goals scored will go through. If the tie persists, the third criterion that comes into play is the result between the tied teams, known as head-to-head. If there are more than two tied teams, the team with more points in the matches between them will pass.

What do they do if there is a tie in the World Cup? ›

If the teams are still tied after extra time, they go to a penalty kick shootout. In that, a coin flip decides which side goes first. The teams then pick five penalty takers, and they alternate attempts until a winner is determined.

What is the prediction for Croatia vs Brazil? ›

Despite getting to the final in Russia, Croatia have been handed only an 11.5% of victory by our Opta match prediction model, which has Brazil as the favourites with 68.2%. There is a 20.3% chance of a draw, and the game going to penalties to decide who advances to the semi-finals in Qatar.

What is the most controversial goal in World Cup history? ›

There will never be a more controversial goal in World Cup history than the first goal Maradona scored in the '86 semi-final versus England. After a mazy run, the ball was sliced into the air by an England defender and Maradona literally punched it over the advancing Peter Shilton to give Argentina the lead.

How did Brazil get disqualified from World Cup? ›

The pre-tournament favorites lost 4-2 in a penalty shootout to Croatia after playing out a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes. Croatia, who beat Japan on penalties in the round of 16, have now tied Germany's record of four victories in four World Cup shootouts.

Why is Brazil so obsessed with soccer? ›

The sport brings people together and promote a collective identity. In a society that is still extremely segregated by race and class, these moments of collective union are essential to the formation and maintenance of a national identity. Nowadays, it is indisputable the major effect football has on Brazilian culture.

Why did Brazil lose 7 1? ›

Brazil ended up faring well in total possession, but they could not get anything meaningful going due to the poor showing of the midfield. Conversely, Germany had all the time in the world to set up attacks and move the ball until they could find the perfect look at the net.

Who is stronger Brazil or Croatia? ›

Brazil vs Croatia head-to-head record

Brazil has a clear-cut advantage when it comes to head-to-head record, with three wins and a draw in four games against the European opponent. While two of the four games came in FIFA World Cup, the other two were friendly fixtures.

Are Croatia underdogs in World Cup? ›

At Qatar 2022, Croatia have it through to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup™ for the third time in their brief history and the second edition in a row.

Who is Favourite to win Croatia or Brazil? ›

Croatia vs Brazil Match Betting

After their pulsating performance in the 4-1 victory over South Korea, it's no surprise to see Brazil installed as the favourites for this one (in 90 minutes).

How much money did Croatia get from the World Cup? ›

Third-place team Croatia earned $27 million in prize money. Morocco, which ended up in fourth, will be paid $25 million.

Why did the Croatian goalie get a yellow card? ›

The penalty kick came about after Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livaković took down a charging Julián Álvarez in the penalty area. Livaković was assessed a yellow card for his rough challenge, and Messi stepped forward and powerfully put the ball in the net.

What did Miss Croatia promise if they won the World Cup? ›

Asked by German press what she'd do if Croatia become world champions, Knoll, who was wearing a Croatian flag at the time, said, “If that happens, the flag falls…” promising to go naked as a reward for lifting the most coveted trophy.

Who has never lost against Brazil? ›

In fact, Norway is the only team in the world who has played Brazil and never lost, winning two matches and drawing on two other occasions.

Who shot the Brazil penalties? ›

When the game went into extra-time, though, Neymar and his Brazil team-mates seemed to have concocted a wonder goal to send them through to the final four of the competition. But then Bruno Petkovic levelled the game to send it to penalties.

Why didn t Neymar take a PK? ›

Brazil's outgoing manager Tite confirmed why Neymar was not given the chance, saying: "He would have the fifth and most decisive penalty. The player with the most skills and mental capacity needs to take this one as it is a heavier pressure." WHAT NEXT FOR NEYMAR?

Has Croatia ever won from Brazil in a World Cup? ›

Two of their three victories have been in this competition, the first in 2006 and the second in the opening game of the 2014 tournament. For Croatia, if they are to progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup 2022, they would need to record an historic first-ever win over Brazil to reach the final four.

Has Croatia ever beat Argentina? ›

The sides have met each other five times since 1994, including three friendlies, with the two rivals winning one apiece and another finishing in a goalless draw. The matches have been high-scoring affairs, with Croatia enjoying the lion's share with seven goals and Argentina sending five into the back of the net.

What was Croatia's best World Cup performance? ›

Croatia best finish at a World Cup

Croatia's shock run to the final in Russia is their greatest ever finish at a World Cup finals. They knocked out Denmark, Russia and England to book their date with France in the final.

Is Brazil the largest country in South America? ›

Brazil is the biggest country in South America; in terms of area it is the fifth-biggest country on Earth and in terms of population the sixth biggest.

Who took the penalties for Brazil vs Croatia? ›

Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer and Mislav Orsic also converted their penalties for Croatia, while Casemiro and Pedro scored for Brazil.

Which country removed Brazil? ›

World Cup 2022: Brazil eliminated after shock defeat to Croatia on penalties. Croatia beat Brazil in a penalty shoot-out, after Brazil failed to defend their lead in extra time.

When did Croatia go against Brazil? ›

Two of their three victories have been in this competition, the first in 2006 and the second in the opening game of the 2014 tournament. For Croatia, if they are to progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup 2022, they would need to record an historic first-ever win over Brazil to reach the final four.

How did Brazil and Croatia get on? ›

World Cup 2022 - Croatia 1-1 Brazil AET (4-2 on pens): Croatia stun five-time world champions in dramatic penalty shootout win. Croatia stunned five-time world champions Brazil with a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout win at the Education City Stadium to book a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Was Brazil favored over Croatia? ›

In the Brazil-Croatia match, Draw was a perfect outcome in BetMGM's three-way betting. Brazil, a -275 favorite, took 49% of tickets and 84% of money. Croatia, a hefty +750 underdog, got 39% of tickets but only 12% of money.

How many times have Croatia beat Brazil in the World Cup? ›

The teams have met twice in the World Cup, with Brazil winning 1-0 in 2006 and 3-1 as hosts in 2014. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

What odds were Croatia to beat Brazil? ›

Croatia are +675 underdogs, a draw is priced at +370, and the over/under for total match goals is 2.5. Brazil are -650 to advance, while Croatia are +375.

Who is Favourite between Brazil and Croatia? ›

Brazil is heavily favored to beat Croatia and become the first team to advance to a semifinal. The Selecao are the biggest favorite of any of the quarterfinals.

What is the prediction for Croatia Brazil? ›

Despite getting to the final in Russia, Croatia have been handed only an 11.5% of victory by our Opta match prediction model, which has Brazil as the favourites with 68.2%. There is a 20.3% chance of a draw, and the game going to penalties to decide who advances to the semi-finals in Qatar.

Who winned Brazil or Croatia? ›

Croatia 4-2 Brazil - the Croats win it! So, up steps Marquinhos. He must score... and doesn't! His shot rebounds off the post!


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