Japan vs Croatia LIVE: World Cup 2022 result and final score as Livakovic saves three penalties in shoot-out

Croatia goalkeeper Dominic Kivakovic saved penalties from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida before Mario Pasalic netted the winning spot-kick in their 3-1 shootout win over Japan on Monday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

With the scores deadlocked at 1-1 after an absorbing 90 minutes, Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma went closest in the scrappy half-hour of extra time, forcing Kivakovic to parry away his powerful drive.

Daichi Kamada had shot off target after a flowing Japan counter-attack minutes before Daizen Maeda deservedly put them ahead in the 43rd minute, firing home from close range after Ritsu Doan delivered an in-swinging cross into the penalty area.

Croatia forward Ivan Perisic, who was denied by Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda in the opening minutes, pulled them level 10 minutes into the second half after meeting Dejan Lovren’s cross with a powerful header. Croatia will face either Brazil or South Korea in the quarter-finals. Follow reaction in our live blog below

Japan vs Croatia

  • FULL-TIME! Goalkeeper Livakovic saves three penalties as Croatia end Japan’s World Cup run

  • Croatia will face either Brazil or South Korea in the quarter-finals

  • PENALTIES! Japan and Croatia finish level and head to first shoot-out of World Cup

  • 104’ SAVE! Mitoma forces stop from Livakovic after solo run (1-1)

  • EXTRA TIME! Japan and Croatia face 30 more minutes for place in quarter-finals (1-1)

  • 55’ GOAL! Perisic equalises with powerful header from Lovren cross (1-1)

  • 42’ GOAL! Maeda strikes from set-piece routine to give Japan deserved lead (1-0)

  • 39’ CHANCE! Kamada shoots over as Japan threaten before half-time (0-0)

  • 9’ SAVE! Perisic denied by Gonda after defensive error from Tomiyasu (0-0)

Japan’s fairytale run finally runs out of road

18:14 , Michael Jones

Japan have never made it past the last-16 at a World Cup. Failures at 2002 and 2010 still stung when 2018 became the most heartbreaking of all, Nacer Chadli’s latest of late goals seeing Belgium roar back from two down in the second-half to beat them at the last.

The pain of that night in Rostov has lived with this Japanese group ever since. “I have never forgotten,” Yuto Nagatomo would say in the build-up to this latest attempt to write new history. He will remember this, too.

Instead it was the same old story, the fairytale this side has been on at this World Cup brutally ended in the most painful fashion possible by Croatia, a bitter final chapter the uplifting tale that came before it didn’t remotely deserve.

Japan’s fairytale run finally runs out of road

Croatia shatter Japan’s World Cup dream as experience proves key in penalty shoot-out

18:11 , Michael Jones

Japan had cut down two former World Cup winners but the 2018 runners-up ended their run as the scourge of the European powers. The Blue Samarai were the conquerors of Germany and Spain but were denied a third major scalp by a hat-trick of penalty saves from Dominik Livakovic.

In an extraordinary display, the Croatian goalkeeper guessed right three times out of four, denying Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and finally Maya Yoshida to extend the World Cup career of Luka Modric. Croatia’s captain had gone off before the first shootout of the 2022 tournament. In his absence, Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mario Pasalic all converted, rendering Marko Livaja’s miss irrelevant and ensuring the Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper was the hero. Only his compatriot Danijel Subasic and Portugal’s Ricardo had ever made three saves in a World Cup penalty shootout before. Livakovic joined them.

If Croatia can savour shootouts, Japan must dread them. Zlatko Dalic’s team had twice prevailed on penalties in their run to the final in 2018. For Japan, as in 2010, a last-16 tie was decided on spot kicks. They have still never reached a World Cup quarter-final and can rue the way they lost an advantage they gained in an excellent first half.

Croatia shatter Japan’s World Cup dream as experience proves key in penalty shoot-out

Japan and Croatia provide reminder of the risk and the reluctance of knockout World Cup football

18:07 , Michael Jones

Half the World Cup 2022 round of 16 was over and done with before we knew it, little of it truly throwing up any possibility of a shock result or, indeed, much doubt over who would progress.

Sure, Australia came within a big Emi Martinez arm of forcing an equaliser, but it was wildly against the run of the game and after one massively deflected goal, and sure, both England and France were frustrated for a bit.

It didn’t last, and once the first goal went in, all uncertainty disappeared.

For all intents and purposes, each of the first four round of 16 clashes were over and done by at half-time, given none gave up their initial lead, and three were absolutely wrapped up by the hour mark.

Japan and Croatia provide reminder of risk and reluctance of knockout football

Daring Japan showcase brave new era at World Cup despite penalty heartache

18:06 , Michael Jones

A cruel end for Japan, but this gutsy and adventurous World Cup campaign can inspire an exciting future.

Falling 3-1 on penalties after handing Croatia a fright, Japan must harness the pain of Takumi Minamino Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida’s costly misses to embolden this exciting team, who entertained throughout their time in Qatar.

Denied the last eight berth they covet so much, they can have few regrets from this daring tie, which delivered a brave gameplan from the outset.

Daring Japan showcase brave new era at World Cup despite penalty heartache

Brazil vs South Korea line-ups

18:03 , Michael Jones

Brazil XI: Alisson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Militao, Paqueta, Casemiro, Vinicius Jr, Neymar, Raphinha, Richarlison

South Korea XI: Kim S.G, Kim J.S, Kim Y.G, Kim M.J, Kim N.H, Jung, Hwang I.B, Son H.M, Lee J.S, Hwang H.C, Cho G.S

Brazil vs South Korea

17:56 , Michael Jones

Still to come tonight, Brazil look to set up a clash with Croatia as they take on South Korea in their last-16 tie. The team news it out with the highlight being Neymar’s return to the Brazil starting line-up.

Full line-ups coming next...

Croatia defeat Japan 3-1 on penalties

17:52 , Michael Jones

Croatia’s record in World Cup penalty shootouts is now three from three having also beaten both Denmark and Russia in 2018 during the last 16 and quarter-finals.

In comparison Japan’s is now wins from two. They also lost to Paraguay in 2010.

Japan vs Croatia player ratings: Junya Ito and Yuto Nagatomo Ito shine before shootout defeat

17:49 , Michael Jones

Croatia beat Japan on penalties to advance to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, after the last-16 tie finished 1-1 after extra time.

Japan took the lead through Daizen Maeda on the cusp of half time, before Ivan Perisic equalised with a second-half header.

Neither side could find a winner before the end of normal or extra time, but it was Croatia who emerged victorious in the shootout.

Here’s how the players fared:

Japan vs Croatia player ratings: Junya Ito and Yuto Nagatomo shine before shootout

Croatia defeat Japan 3-1 on penalties

17:46 , Michael Jones

Croatia have won each of their last three penalty shootouts in the World Cup. They came from behind and levelled the match before holding their nerve in the shootout.

Luka Modric and co. go on, can they reach the final once again?

Penalties: Japan 1-3 Croatia

17:44 , Michael Jones

GOAL! Mario Pasalic finds the bottom left corner and sends Croatia into the quarter-finals!

Take a bow Dominik Livakovic. He saved three out of the four Japanese penalties.

Croatia win 3-1 on penalties.

Penalties: Japan 1-2 Croatia

17:43 , Michael Jones

MISS! Japan’s captain Maya Yoshida goes to the goalkeeper’s right and Livakovic gets there again! He pushes the ball clear.

Croatia can win this now.

Penalties: Japan 1-2 Croatia

17:42 , Michael Jones

MISS! Marko Livaja is the next man up for Croatia. He labours up to the ball and flicks it over to the left where the ball strikes the post and bounces wide!

Penalties: Japan 1-2 Croatia

17:41 , Michael Jones

GOAL! Takuma Asano scores! Japan are on the board.

Penalties: Japan 0-2 Croatia

17:40 , Michael Jones

GOAL! Marcelo Brozovic sends his penalty straight down the middle and puts Croatia two in front!

Penalties: Japan 0-1 Croatia

17:40 , Michael Jones

MISS! Kaoru Mitoma scuffs a soft effort into the bottom left corner and Livakovic dives across to palm this one away as well!

Penalties: Japan 0-1 Croatia

17:39 , Michael Jones

GOAL! Nikola Vlasic smokes his effort into the left side netting and beats Shuichi Gonda.

Penalties: Japan 0-0 Croatia

17:38 , Michael Jones

MISS! The former Liverpool man, Takumi Minamino, takes the first penalty. He sends it low to Dominik Livakovic’s left and the goalkeeper drops to keep it out!

Not a great penalty. Advantage Croatia.

Penalties: Japan 0-0 Croatia

17:37 , Michael Jones

Croatia have been in this situation many times before. Are they the favourites to go through? Or does it not really matter in a penalty shootout?

It seems that Japan have won the coin toss and are seemingly up first.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:33 , Michael Jones

120+1 mins: There goes the whistle to end extra-time. This match is going to penalties! Croatia won their first two knockout games of the last World Cup on penalties so they’ll be confident.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:31 , Michael Jones

117 mins: Mitoma glances a header towards goal but Livakovic clings onto the ball to keep it out. Borna Barisic collects a yellow card for a heavy tackle too.

Penalties are drawing ever closer.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:26 , Michael Jones

114 mins: There’s a bit of pressure coming from Croatia now. They win a throw in deep in Japan’s half and Josip Juranovic flings a long one into the penalty area.

The ball gets flicked on into the middle but Shuichi Gonda is off his line quickly and confidently plucks it out of the air.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:23 , Michael Jones

111 mins: Croatia win the ball in midfield and work it nicely out to Majer on the right wing. He drives up alongisde the box before swinging in a deep cross.

The Europeans win a corner but when it comes into the middle Shuichi Gonda comes out and punches the ball clear.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:20 , Michael Jones

108 mins: The final part of this last-16 tie gets underway. Hidemasa Morita goes off for Japan with Ao Tanaka replacing him. Marko Livaja is also brought on and he replaces substitute Ante Budimir for Croatia.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:15 , Michael Jones

105+2 mins: The first period of extra-time comes to an end with no change to the scoreline. They only real excitement came from Kaoru Mitoma’s storming run and strike but even that wasn’t enough to beat Dominik Livakovic.

15 minutes to play before penalties.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:12 , Michael Jones

105 mins: Chance! Japan have roared into life at the end of the first half of extra-time. Kaoru Mitoma carries the ball down the left wing before cutting inside and blasting a shot at Dominik Livakovic who sticks out his right hand and keeps the shot out!

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:09 , Michael Jones

102 mins: Perisic receives the ball in the box from a throw in and turns the ball towards goal. Sakai blocks the shot but it comes back to Perisic who sees a second attempt blocked by Ito.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:07 , Michael Jones

99 mins: All of Croatia’s knockout games, except the final, at the 2018 World Cup went to extra time, and they progressed in all three. Will they get the win again tonight?

Croatia’s talisman and captain, Luka Modric, is taken off now as is Mateo Kovacic. Nikola Vlasic and Lovro Majer are the two men to come on.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:04 , Michael Jones

96 mins: Livakovic sends the ball up the pitch and picks out Perisic who flicks the ball on to Budimir. The Croatian forward is tackled by Sakai who sends the ball out for a throw in.

Croatia send the ball back into play and work it to their back line to build from the back again.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

17:00 , Michael Jones

93 mins: Japan win an early corner that comes curling over to Shogo Taniguchi in the middle of the Croatian penalty area. He wins the header but sends his effort wide of the target.

Japan lost their only World Cup match that went to extra time - 5-4 on penalties against Paraguay in the 2010 last 16.

ET Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:59 , Michael Jones

So, another 30 minutes of play to go before a potential penalty shootout. Who will reach the quarter-finals?

Extra-time: Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:55 , Michael Jones

Perisic rescues Croatia once again.


Full-time: Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:52 , Michael Jones

90+4 mins: Nothing to separate the teams as the whistle goes to signal the end of 90 minutes. Ivan Perisic cancelled out Daizen Maeda’s opener to bring Croatia level and take the match to extra-time.

Croatia have lots of experience in these situations so they have to be the favourites to go on and win now.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:48 , Michael Jones

90 mins: Four minutes of added time to play before extra-time. Mateo Kovacic slides into a tackle on Junya Ito and picks up a yellow card after taking out the man.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:45 , Michael Jones

88 mins: Ritsu Doan’s night comes to an end as Takumi Minamino replaces him with time ticking away. Croatia haven’t looked in any real danger during this half and seem content to take the game into extra-time.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:44 , Michael Jones

85 mins: Five minutes of the 90 to play. Croatia look more intent of nicking a late winner with Japan focussed on keeping them out. Perisic has moved over to the left wing again and feeds a cross into the box.

Substitute Pasalic gets to the ball in the air but glances his header wide of the target.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:42 , Michael Jones

82 mins: Luka Modric shifts the ball inside of Kaoru Mitoma before giving it to Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the box. Ivan Perisic, now on the right wing, makes a run in behind but can’t collect Kovacic’s through pass and the ball rolls out for a goal kick.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:37 , Michael Jones

79 mins: Picking one of these teams to win the game inside the 90 minutes I’d go for Croatia now. They’ve nullified Japan’s intensity and attacking flair and are now creating more chances.

Lots of changes have been made which has created a stop-start tempo to the game.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:35 , Michael Jones

76 mins: Hiroki Sakai is now introduced for Japan to take the place of Daichi Kamada.

Close! Ivan Perisic collects a wayward pass and drives up to the edge of the box before blazing an effort at goal and winning a corner as Takehiro Tomiyasu deflects to wide of the target.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:31 , Michael Jones

73 mins: Junya Ito sprints back into his own box and meets a deep cross with a header behind to gift Croatia a corner. Luka Modric knocks it short to Ivan Perisic who’s pullback is cleared by Ito.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:30 , Michael Jones

70 mins: 20 minutes to go in this last-16 tie. Will we see a winner or are these teams going to take the match into extra-time?

The second half has settled down since Croatia equalised with Japan not managing to replicate their earlier form. A cross into the box from the Asian side is easily dealt with.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:25 , Michael Jones

67 mins: Chance! Croatia are slowly taking control of the game and creating more chances at goal. Andrej Kramaric brings the ball into the box and lets fly on with a shot but a deflection takes the ball over to the opposite side of the area.

Ante Budimir is hovering though and manages to reach the ball with a header that he turns wide of the target.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:24 , Michael Jones

64 mins: Hajime Moriyasu responds for Japan with a couple of changes of his own. Yuto Nagatomo and Daizen Maeda are off with Takuma Asano and Kaoru Mitoma brought on.

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:22 , Michael Jones

61 mins: Croatia go to the bench first and replace Bruno Petkovic with forward Ante Budimir.

Save! Luka Modric then controls a bouncing ball inside the Japan final third and strikes one from range. He hits it well and forces Shuichi Gonda into a fingertip save that pushes the ball over the crossbar!

Japan 1-1 Croatia

16:19 , Michael Jones

58 mins: What do Japan do now? They’ve seen their lead evaporated and Croatia are the kings of winning knockout matches from losing positions.

They work the ball up the pitch with Wataru Endo passing the ball through the middle. It comes to Ritsu Doan on the edge of the box and he scuffs a soft bobbling effort towards goal that Dominik Livakovic has no problems keeping out.

GOAL! Japan 1-1 Croatia (Perisic, 55’)⚽️

16:13 , Michael Jones

55 mins: Equaliser! This comes from nothing as Croatia seem stuck about how to create a chance on goal. They pass it around the edge of the box before retreating and giving the ball to Dejan Lovren.

He curls a hopeful ball into the penalty area and Ivan Perisic peels away from his marker, leaps into the air and powers a fine header into the far bottom corner!

Great goal from Croatia’s go-to man.

Japan 1-0 Croatia

16:12 , Michael Jones

54 mins: Corner to Japan. Ritsu Doan takes it and fires a flat cross to the edge of the six yard box. Shogo Taniguchi flicks the ball on but can’t find a teammate and Croatia clear the danger as Japan sprint back into their defensive shape.

Japan 1-0 Croatia

16:11 , Michael Jones

51 mins: Croatia are stepping up their attacking play. They whip a cross in from the left and Bruno Petkovic goes down after a bit of tussling in the box. He’s trying to convince the referee to give a penalty but nothing comes from it.

When the Croatians then recover the ball high up the pitch, Petkovic miscues a pass into the area and sends it straight to Shuichi Gonda.

Japan 1-0 Croatia

16:07 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Kamada has a snapshot from outside the box and sends his effort sailing wide of Livakovic’s left hand post.

At the other end of the pitch Croatia win a throw in that Josip Juranovic flings into the penalty area. The ball is nodded out to Mateo Kovacic who volleys an effort wide of the box post.

That was a close one.

Second half: Japan 1-0 Croatia

16:03 , Michael Jones

Japan kick off the second half having made no changes to the starting XI. Four years ago Croatia reached the World Cup final having been behind in each of their knockout games. Can they come from behind to defeat Japan in this one too?

HT Japan 1-0 Croatia

15:59 , Jamie Braidwood

Here’s Daizen Maeda’s opener. Will Japan add to their lead in the second half?

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HT Japan 1-0 Croatia

15:55 , Michael Jones

It’s been a close affair so far. Croatia have edged possession 59% to 41% with both teams creating three attempts with one on target.

The difference is that Japan scored theirs and Croatia didn’t.

HT Japan 1-0 Croatia

15:51 , Michael Jones

Japan have shown that their wins over Germany and Spain were no flukes. They’ve been the better team over the course of the first half but Croatia will respond after the break.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Half-time: Japan 1-0 Croatia

15:47 , Michael Jones

45+2 mins: Hajime Moriyasu’s team take a slender but deserved lead into the break after Daizen Maeda turned a loose ball into the back of the net.

It’s been an intriguing first 45 minutes but Croatia have the ability and guile to respond in the next half so Japan will need to come up with a way to hold onto this lead.

Japan 1-0 Croatia

15:46 , Michael Jones

45 mins: It’s been a great half of football for Japan with just two minutes of added time to play.

GOAL! Japan 1-0 Croatia (Maeda, 43’)⚽️

15:44 , Michael Jones

43 mins: Japan lead! Ritsu Doan plays a short corner to Daichi Kamada before getting the ball back and lifting a cross into the box.

There’s a small scramble to get to the ball but it drops to Daizen Maeda who whips it into the back of the net to send his side ahead just before half-time!

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:43 , Michael Jones

42 mins: Ito takes on Barisic over on the right wing before giving to the ball to Doan who fizzes a cross into the box. Juranovic is wary of the danger and leaps at the ball nodding it out for a corner when his goalkeeper came out to claim it.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:42 , Michael Jones

39 mins: Luka Modric delivers another free kick into the penalty area but Doan deals with the ball and Japan kick off a counter-attack. Junya Ito flies up the pitch before sending it into the feet of Daizen Maeda.

The forward holds it up deep in Croatia’s half allowing his teammates to join him around the penalty area. He sends the ball into the middle where it gets slipped through to Daichi Kamada inside the box.

He cuts onto his left foot and scoops a shot over the crossbar!

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:39 , Michael Jones

36 mins: Japan are at their best when they pass the ball quickly and run at defences. With Croatia sitting deep and getting men behind the ball they’re making it tough for the Japanese to break them down.

Yuto Nagatomo receives the ball out wide but his cross into the box is whipped straight out of play.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:35 , Michael Jones

33 mins: Croatia seem a lot tighter defensively than they were in the opening 20 minutes or so. Japan are finding it tricky to break them down and attempt a couple of attacks through the middle.

Roan and Maeda link-up well but the final pass into the area it off target and Croatia clear the danger.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:29 , Michael Jones

30 mins: After a bright start from Japan, Croatia are fighting back nicely. They keep the pressure on the Japanese by sending in cross after cross from both sides of the pitch.

The best chance almost drops to Kramaric inside the six-yard area but he can’t get a toe to the ball in order to tap it past Gonda.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:27 , Michael Jones

27 mins: Close! A chipped pass up the pitch sees Bruno Petkovic played in behind after the forward makes a darting run through the lines. He collects the ball and brings it into the penalty area.

Andrej Kramaric is waving his arms for the ball at the far side of the penalty area but Petkovic doesn’t see him. Instead he halts his run before a poor touch sends the ball rolling into the arms of goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:25 , Michael Jones

24 mins: Chance! Croatia win a free kick just inside the Japanese half and Luka Modric lifts it into the penalty area. Mateo Kovacic gets to the ball under pressure and nods it over to Josko Gvardiol who laces a first time effort high and wide!

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:22 , Michael Jones

21 mins: There’s an unyielding energy to Japan which means that Croatia haven’t been able to spend any prolonged time in possession before they’re forced to defend again.

This has been a good 20 minutes for the Asian side who seem to be growing in confidence.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:18 , Michael Jones

18 mins: Close! Yuto Nagatomo gets forward on the left wing and brings down a diagonal ball when it comes over the top. The left-back then whips a cross into the box and fins Daizen Maeda who should do better.

The Japanese forward misses his header and Josko Gvardioal turns the ball out of play.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:16 , Michael Jones

15 mins: This has been a lively start from both teams with action at either end of the pitch. If things continue this way then it won’t remain goalless for long.

The winner of this encounter will go on to play either Brazil or South Korea in the quarter-finals.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:13 , Michael Jones

12 mins: Borna Barisic curls a cross into Japan’s box from the left and sees Ivan Perisic get on the end of it. He flicks the ball over to Luka Modric who looks for a threaded pass into the right side of the penalty area but Japan intercept the ball.

Japan take over possession and fly down the pitch. Junya Ito drives up the right side and fizzes a pass across the six-yard box. Croatia fail to deal with it and Daizen Maeda pops up by the back post but can’t get a touch on the ball to turn it towards goal.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:09 , Michael Jones

9 mins: Save! A long ball up the pitch from Dominik Livakovic comes bouncing over Takehiro Tomiyasu who is put under pressure by the forward thinking Ivan Perisic.

Tomiyasu tries to pass the ball back to his own goalkeeper but underhits it allowing Perisic to leap onto the ball. He brings it into the area and shoots from a tight angle but Shuidhi Gonda gets a hand out and palms the ball away.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:07 , Michael Jones

6 mins: Luka Modric brings the ball into the Japan half and attempts to slip in Mateo Kovacic who loses possession almost immediately following a poor touch.

Japan initiate a counter-attack on the right wing but Borna Barisic back tracks well and recovers the ball for the European side.

Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:04 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Japan come down the left wing and give the ball to Daizen Maeda. He wins a free kick that Ritsu Doan whips dangerously into the penalty area.

The ball comes over to the far side of the box before getting turned behind for a corner. This is good early pressure from Japan.

Close! The corner ball is sent short then crossed in from a better angle. Shogo Taniguchi is free in the centre of the area and meets the ball with a glancing header but can only guide it wide of the left hand post!

Kick off: Japan 0-0 Croatia

15:01 , Michael Jones

Croatia get the ball rolling in the fifth of eight last-16 ties of the Qatar World Cup. They send a diagonal ball over to the right wing but put it straight out of play for a Japan throw in.

Japan vs Croatia

14:56 , Michael Jones

The players make their way out onto the pitch and sing their respective national anthems. This match is expected to be a close affair but only one team can make it through to the next round.

Who will it be? Kick off is up next...

Japan vs Croatia

14:54 , Michael Jones

This game is probably the hardest one to predict a winner for in all of the entire last-16. The Netherlands, Argentina, France and England were all expected to progress and they did.

Brazil, Portugal and Spain are also heavy favourites for their matches too. Either of the teams could go through this afternoon and most people would say that’s a fair result.

More surprising would be if one of them came out and dominated from the get-go. History and experience says that Croatia are the team most likely to win but Japan have already beaten Spain and Germany so will be threatening throughout.

Modric’s last tournament?

14:51 , Michael Jones

37-year-old Luka Modric makes his 159th international appearance for Croatia today. The midfielder has appeared in four World Cups and four European Championships for his country but will Qatar 2022 be his last major competition?

“This will not be the last tournament he will play for Croatia,” said boss Zlatko Dalic. “He is professional and in good shape, you can see how he is in training, working to improve himself. It’s unprecedented.

“We will need Luka for some time more in the future.”

Japan vs Croatia

14:47 , Michael Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Japan vs Croatia

14:43 , Michael Jones

Japan were knocked out in the last 16 by Turkey in 2002, Paraguay in 2010 and Belgium in 2018.

The only Asian nations to reach the World Cup quarter-finals are North Korea in 1966 and South Korea in 2002, will Japan become the third nation to do so?

Japan vs Croatia

14:39 , Michael Jones

Croatia have lost only two of their eight World Cup knockout games with four wins and two draws. They also progressed from the two drawn matches on penalties - both in 2018.

Yuto Nagatomo calls for Japan to evoke the ‘Samurai spirit’ in Croatia tie

14:35 , Michael Jones

Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo has called on his team-mates to evoke the ‘Samurai spirit’ as they aim to overcome 2018’s beaten finalists Croatia and book their place in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The 36-year-old insists recent improvements in tactics and technique will count for nothing unless his side continue to display the kind of fearless approach that saw them snatch a place in the knockout rounds with stunning victories over Germany and Spain to top Group E.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to show the world how we can fight like Samurai,” said Nagatomo, now back at FC Tokyo after a career that included spells in Europe with Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Marseille.

Yuto Nagatomo calls for Japan to evoke the ‘Samurai spirit’ in Croatia tie

Japan vs Croatia

14:31 , Michael Jones

Japan averaged only 32% possession across their three group games. Their two wins over Spain and Germany came with 18% and 26% possession respectively.

But, you’d expect Hajime Moriyasu’s side to increase that stat against Croatia today.

England in ‘a good place’ ahead of ‘acid test’ against France at World Cup

14:27 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate is relishing England’s “acid test” against reigning champions France in Saturday’s blockbuster World Cup quarter-final clash.

Having topped Group B without much fuss, the 2018 semi-finalists opened the knockout phase with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Senegal in Sunday’s last-16 encounter.

England overcame heightened expectations and a bright start by the African champions at Al Bayt Stadium, where they will return this weekend to take on what Southgate called “the very best” in Qatar.

“We’ve got a brilliant tie, haven’t we?” the England boss said of the quarter-final against World Cup holders France. “The two quarter-finals are fabulous football nations, great history, couldn’t be more exciting.”

England in ‘a good place’ ahead of ‘acid test’ against France at World Cup

Japan vs Croatia

14:22 , Michael Jones

This will be the third World Cup meeting between the two sides. Croatia won 1-0 in 1998 and they drew 0-0 in 2006, both in the group stage.

Based on the history, expect a tight affair with few goals that could go either way.

Japan vs Croatia

14:17 , Michael Jones

The fans are starting to arrive at the Al Janoub Stadium. Which set of supporters will be celebrating later on?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

How will Croatia go?

14:12 , Michael Jones

Croatia had a mixed bag in terms of performances during the group stages failing to score against Morocco and Belgium but hammering Canada 4-1 as they progressed as Group F runners-up.

Manager Zlatko Dalic knows his team will be in for a fight tonight after watching Japan’s stunning 2-1 win over Spain.

"When Spain scored the opening goal, I thought Japan were finished, but they never gave up and deserved their victory.” he said,

"The fact that Germany, Belgium and Denmark have all been eliminated illustrates just how strong other teams have been at this World Cup.

"In the past, I might have picked Japan as an opponent that we would want to play, but they have defeated both Germany and Spain. This certainly will not be an easy game for us."

Police investigate report of burglary at home of England star Raheem Sterling

14:07 , Michael Jones

Surrey Police have confirmed they are investigating a report of a burglary at the home of England forward Raheem Sterling.

England manager Gareth Southgate said on Sunday night the Chelsea star had returned to the UK from the team’s World Cup camp in Qatar to be with his family.

A statement from Surrey Police read: “We are currently investigating a report of a burglary at an address in Oxshott, Leatherhead.”

Police investigate report of burglary at home of England star Raheem Sterling

Can Japan reach quarter-finals?

14:02 , Michael Jones

Japan have never made it past the last 16 of the World Cup having lost on all three of their attempts. In 2018 they were 2-0 up against Belgium but lost 3-2 in the final minute of the game.

Will they go one better this time around?

Japan to ‘fight like samurai'

13:57 , Michael Jones

Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo says his team must "fight like Samurai" when they face Croatia in the World Cup last 16 this afternoon.

Japan stunned Spain and Germany to win Group E and reach the knockout stage for a fourth time and now face Croatia, runners-up at the 2018 World Cup, for a place in the quarter-finals.

"Before they go into battle they [Samurai] polish their weapons and try to improve their techniques," said Nagatomo, "But if they are scared during battle, they would not be able to use those weapons and techniques fully.

"It’s exactly the same with football.

“Of course, the tactics and techniques are important, but no matter how much we have improved those, if we are scared when we are on the field, those things are useless."

Japan vs Croatia team changes

13:52 , Michael Jones

Hajime Moriyasu makes three changes to the Japan starting XI that faced and beat Spain last time out. Takehiro Tomiyasu comes in to replace the suspended Ko Itakura whilst Wataru Endo and Ritsu Doan are given the nod to start.

Croatia meanwhile make two changes. Borna Barisic replaces Borna Sosa at left-back whilst Bruno Petkovic starts up top in place of Marko Livaja.

Japan vs Croatia prediction: How will World Cup 2022 fixture play out?

13:45 , Michael Jones

Japan face Croatia for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar.

Japan’s stunning victories over Germany and Spain have blown this side of the draw wide open after they topped Group E. Croatia advanced as runners-up of Group F, ahead of Belgium but behind Morocco.

Luka Modric’s side were finalists four years ago and showed all of their experience to grind out a 0-0 draw against Belgium that secured their progress, with centre-back Josko Gvardiol outstanding in defence.

Japan meanwhile repeated their trick of coming back after half-time as they scored two quickfire goals to stun Spain and finish as Group E winners. Japan have never reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup and a victory would see them confirmed as the breakout stars of the tournament.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Predicting how Japan vs Croatia will play out

Japan vs Croatia line-ups

13:42 , Michael Jones

Japan XI: Gonda; Taniguchi, Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Morita, Endo; Ito, Kamada, Doan; Maeda

Croatia XI: Livakovic; Juranovic, Gvardiol, Lovren, Barisic; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic

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Hajime Moriyasu gifts Spain World Cup win to people of Japan

13:40 , Michael Jones

Hajime Moriyasu praised the perseverance of his Japan players after they stunned a second World Cup-winning nation in almost identical circumstances in the space of little more than a week to secure passage to the last-16.

The Samurai Blue endured intense pressure from Spain in the first half and went 1-0 down into the break.

But, just as they did against Germany, two quickfire goals after the interval gave them another famous victory.

Hajime Moriyasu gifts Spain World Cup win to people of Japan

England ‘silencing the critics’ to strike fear into others at World Cup, Declan Rice says

13:35 , Michael Jones

Declan Rice says England are “silencing the critics” and are a better team than Euro 2020, who the rest of the world should be “starting to fear”.

The midfielder added that Gareth Southgate’s side had been “flawless”. Rice pointed to a number of perceived negatives in the team, from scoring to controlling the midfield in big games, and insisted England were now ticking them all off.

“We’re silencing the critics,” he said after the commanding 3-0 win over Senegal in the World Cup last 16. “Going into the tournament, there was a lot of talk that we don’t score enough goals.

“That’s another one we’ve kept people quiet on. There was a lot of scrutiny around the defence and conceding goals, but it’s been solid. We’re going to keep building and pushing.”

England ‘silencing the critics’ to strike fear into others at World Cup

Where to watch Japan vs Croatia?

13:30 , Michael Jones

The match will kick off at 3pm GMT on Monday 5 December and will be played at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.

It will be shown live on BBC One, with coverage starting at 2:30pm, as well as on the BBC iPlayer.

Japan vs Croatia early team news and predicted line-ups

13:25 , Michael Jones

Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma have surely done enough to stay in the team following their impact off the bench at half-time against Germany. Defender Ko Itakura is suspended, so Takehiro Tomiyasu should come in from the start. Takefusa Kubo is also an injury doubt.

Croatia do not have any reported injury concerns, although they looked exhausted at the end of the 0-0 draw against Belgium. Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren are a yellow card away from missing the quarter-finals if Croatia advance.

Predicted line-ups

Japan XI: Gonda; Tomiyasu, Taniguchi, Yoshida; Ito; Morita, Tanaka, Nagatomo; Doan, Maeda, Kamada

Croatia XI: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic

Japan vs Croatia

10:43 , Michael Jones

Japan have been the fairytale story of the World Cup so far but against Croatia they will face a team who are gnarly and experienced enough to cut those dreams short.

Zlatko Dalic’s side have an impressive record of delivering on the big stage and Luka Modric can steer them to another milestone victory here, with Brazil or South Korea waiting in the quarter-finals.

Japan 1-2 Croatia