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Croatia shocks Brazil in penalties, advance to World Cup semifinals

Croatia stunned Brazil with a late extra time equalizer, tying the match 1-1, and then took a 4-2 win in penalties on Friday to advance to a second consecutive World Cup semifinal.

The Croatians will take on the winners of the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match on Dec. 13.

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Croatia is undefeated in five matches when a World Cup knockout round contest reaches extra time.

After routing Korea Republic 4-1 in the round of 16, the high-flying Brazilians hit a wall against the 2018 World Cup finalists. Croatia held the game scoreless, with goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic making eight saves in 90 minutes. The 27-year-old goalkeeper totalled 11 saves through extra time.

Meanwhile, Croatia failed to record a single shot on target but held on to force a second consecutive extra time period of the knockout stage.

Neymar finally gave his nation the moment it had been waiting for in the 105th minute. The superstar swerved through Croatia’s back line and beat Livakovic to score the goal that placed him level with Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading scorer.

Croatia threw ice water on Brazilian fans with an equalizer in the 117th minute. Bruno Petkovic hit the country’s first shot on target, which hit Brazil centre back Marquinhos before finding the back of the net and force a penalty shootout.

Livakovic saved Brazil’s first penalty, giving Croatia a 1-0 lead. Marquinhos hit the post in the final penalty as Croatia took a 4-2 win in the penalty shootout.

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