Croatia vs Brazil summary: Croats win on penalties, score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022
Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final: Croatia vs Brazil as it happened
Croatia beat Brazil: thanks for joining!
OK, we’re going to wrap up this live feed.
That Neymar solo stunner feels like a very long time ago, doesn’t it? Croatia have pulled off a memorable upset today, and continue to cement their status as the team never to be written off; the kind of team that Germany used to be.
Having won yet another World Cup penalty shootout, the Croats are into the semi-finals for the third time, and will take on the Netherlands or Argentina at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.
The Dutch and the Argentines are about to face off for the right to meet the Croats. Be sure to follow that quarter-final with my colleague Joe.
Thanks for reading!
Join AS USA's Joe Brennan for live-text coverage of the 2022 World Cup final, as Argentina and France face off at Lusail Stadium.
It's now Wednesday 14 December and in case you have landed on this older feed, allow us to point you towards the second semi-final of the 2022 World Cup, France vs Morocco to find out who will play Argentina in the showpiece final.
Joe is the man in place with our live coverage to take you through all the build up ahead of the game, bringing you team news and various insights into the two sides.
And then from kick off he will carry you all the way to when the final whistle blows in Qatar. You'll not want to miss out!
It's now Tuesday 13 December and in case you have stumbled across this older feed, allow us to redirect you to the first semi-final of the 2022 World Cup, Argentina vs Croatia.
Joe is the man in place with our live coverage to take you through all the build up ahead of the game, bringing you team news and various insights into the two sides.
And then from kick off he will carry you all the way to when the final whistle blows and we have our first finalist in Qatar confirmed. You'll not want to miss out!
The final quarter-final sees England take on France.Follow all the action with William!
Croatia and Argentina are through... so who goes into the semi-finals on the other side of the draw? It's England vs France later on, but first up is Morocco vs Portugal, which you can follow with Roddy.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo start? Can Morocco humble both Iberian countries? Will we see more penalties? All your questions answered, with a sprinkling of humour and a dash of in-depth tactical analysis.
Kovacic: "We have so much character"
Croatia's Mateo Kovacic has also been speaking to Gol Mundial. These are some of the things the Chelsea midfielder said:
Keys to Croatia victory:
"We have so much character. When the going gets tough, we know we can step it up. And we managed to do that again. This team always gives its all for our country."
Belief from penalty spot:
"We believe in our keeper and our players. When we equalised after they had scored in the 110th minutes of extra time, of course that gives you confidence that you can go through."
"You need a strong goalkeeper, and he’s very good. But the whole team played well, both with and without the ball."
...and despair in Rio
Brazil fans watching today's quarter-final in Rio de Janeuiro react to the Seleçao's defeat to Croatia.
(Photo: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)
Joy in Zagreb...
Croatian supporters celebrate their team's victory after watching the game at public screening in Zagreb, the country's capital.
(Photo: DENIS LOVROVIC / AFP)
"These lads have got such balls"
Here's AS journalist Tomás Roncero's reaction to Croatia's victory: “I’m going to seek Croatian citizenship. These lads have got such balls. Incredible what they’ve achieved. Luka Modric was the conductor of the orchestra, and Livakovic a goalkeeper who’s gone down in history.”
Marquinhos misses the decisive penalty, sending his kick against Dominik Livakovic's right-hand post.
(Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)
Modric: "Everyone wrote us off for dead"
Croatia's Luka Modric has been speaking to Gol Mundial in Spain. Here are a couple of quotes from the midfielder:
"Very happy to get to another semi-final four years later. It’s impressive. We’re delighted. We were almost out when they scored their goal. Everyone wrote us off for dead. But we showed that we never give up."
"He was impressive in the shootout, but not only in the shooutout. He’s shown what a top goalkeeper he is, and I’m happy for him. He’s a great lad."
Unwanted history for Brazil
Another stat from Opta: today's defeat for Brazil is the first time that a team has failed to go through after taking a 1-0 lead in extra time of a World Cup knockout-stage match.
More Livakovic love
According to our colleagues at SofaScore, Domink Livakovic today made the most saves in a World Cup match since the USA's Tim Howard was the star of the show in his country's last-16 tie with Belgium in 2014.
Argentina fans revel in Brazil exit
Footage is emerging of Argentina fans watching the Brazil shootout as they wait for the Albiceleste's quarter-final against the Netherlands. They enjoyed that Marquinhos miss, you'd have to say.
Livakovic equals penalty-save record
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic has now saved four penalties in World Cup shootouts - three against Japan in the last 16, and one more against Brazil today. That's a joint-tournament record, Opta note.
Having dumped Brazil out of the competition, Croatia will now meet either the Netherlands or Argentina in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
To find out whether the Croats will be facing the Dutch or the Argentines, join my colleague Joe Brennan for live-text coverage of today's second quarter-final clash. Kick-off at Lusail Stadium is at 2pm ET - just under an hour from now.
Croatia triumph on pens once more
Meanwhile, Croatia's unblemished penalty shootout record continues. Four of their last six World Cup knockout ties have gone to spot-kicks, and the 2018 finalists have won out on all four of those occasions.
(Photo: REUTERS/Matthew Childs)
Brazil suffer yet another European knockout defeat
Brazil's barren knockout-stage run against European opposition goes on.
The South Americans have now lost six straight World Cup knockout ties to teams from the Old Continent: to France in 2006, to the Netherlands in 2010, to Germany and the Netherlands in 2014, to Belgium in 2018, and now to Croatia in 2022.
(Photo: REUTERS/Hannah Mckay)
Brazil out in QFs yet again
As for Brazil, well... they're becoming a bit of a quarter-final team, aren't they? At the five World Cups since they won the trophy in 2002, the Seleçao have been knocked out in the last eight on four occasions.
A third World Cup semi-final for Croatia!
Incredible stuff at Education City Stadium. What Croatia are achieving at the World Cup is simply astonishing. They're into the semi-finals for the third time since their tournament debut just 24 years ago.
They have a population of four million, for pity's sake.
For context, England - whose population is around 55 million - have been in the last four three times in 16 attempts, stretching back to 1950. (Although the Three Lions can make it four tomorrow.)
Marquinhos misses! Croatia 4-2 Brazil - the Croats win it!
So, up steps Marquinhos. He must score... and doesn't! His shot rebounds off the post! Croatia are through. The five-time champions are out! Wow!
Pedro scores! Croatia 3-2 Brazil
Huge pressure on Pedro, the youngster... and he's equal to it! He waits and waits, before sending Livakovic the wrong way.
Modric scores! Croatia 3-1 Brazil
Now it's Luka Modric. Can he make it three out of three for Croatia?
Yes, yes he can. He sends Alisson the wrong way.
Casemiro scores! Croatia 2-1 Brazil
Now it's Casemiro with a real pressure penalty - and he finds the corner!
Majer scores! Croatia 2-0 Brazil
Lovro Majer will take Croatia's second penalty... and he finds the net!
Rodrygo misses! Croatia 1-0 Brazil
Rodrygo Goes steps up to take Brazil's first kick... and Livakovic saves! It wasn't far enough into the corner.
Here we go, then. Vlasic will take first...
Croatia to take first penalty
The two captains, Thiago Silva and Luka Modric, have just done the coin toss with Michael Oliver. Croatia will take first.
Croatia three for three in World Cup shootouts; Brazil unbeaten in 38 years
Croatia are pretty decent at penalty shootouts in the World Cup. They've been involved in three - one in Qatar, and two at Russia 2018 - and have won them all.
As for Brazil, they've not done too badly from 12 yards, either. The five-time champions haven't lost a penalty competition at the World Cup since 1986, when they were beaten by France in the quarter-finals.
Peeep peeep peeeep! Penalties it is.
Perisic brings down Antony, and Brazil have a final chance to send it into the middle. Neymar delivers, the ball drops to Casemiro, and he fires at goal... but Livakovic saves! What a game he's had.
Two minutes of time added on.
Croatia really are becoming the new Germany. You can just never write them off.
They have their tails up now, understandably. Majer gets the ball out of his feet and strikes from 25 yards or so, but his strike flies wide.
Goal! Croatia 1-1 Brazil - incredible stuff!
Wow. What drama at Education City Stadium. Croatia are level with three minutes of extra time to go, and it looks like we're heading for penalties!
It's two substitutes who combine for the goal. Orsic drives down the left wing and into an area to send the ball into the box. His low cross is right to Petkovic, whose first-time shot takes a touch off a Brazil boot and finds the corner!
Brazil keep the ball for a short while in the Croatia half, before Zlatko Dalic's men win it back. Lovren pings a high ball towards Orsic on the left wing, but overhits it, and it flies out.
Croatia bring on Mislav Orsic for Brozovic.
Neymar rounds Livakovic before scoring Brazil's goal.
(Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse)
Right away, Croatia ping a high ball up to Budimir in the box. Lovren it is who plays the ball, but Budimir is beaten to it by Thiago Silva, and is penalised for a foul on the Brazilian.
Croatia replace a full-back with a striker, as they search for an equaliser. Sosa is off, with Ante Budimir on.
Croatia get forward again, working it to Perisic in crossing space on the left. Perisic quickly fizzes a ball over to the back stick, but Vlasic can't quite get on the end of it.
Brozovic slips the ball to Majer on the left. He twists and turns in search of space to cross, before finally delivering into the box. His low ball is easily dealt with.
Peeeep! The second half of extra time is go.
Croatia are making a change, replacing Kovacic with Lovro Majer.
Brazil also shuffle their pack, with Danilo and Paquetà making way for Alex Sandro and Fred. Danilo will shift over to right-back, with Sandro on the left.
That's half time in extra time! Brazil have finally beaten Livakovic, thanks to a wonderful, wonderful Neymar goal. They're 15 minutes away from their ninth World Cup semi-final.
Neymar has now drawn level with Pelé's record haul of 77 goals for Brazil.
Goal! Croatia 0-1 Brazil - Neymar breaks the deadlock!
It's a fabulous goal.
Receiving the ball some 40 yards out, Neymar plays a one-two with Rodrygo, and advances a little further towards the Croatia box. He then exchanges passes with Paquetà, before advancing into the area, rounding Livakovic, and firing high into the net!
One minute of time added on at the end of the first half of extra time.
That is sublime skill from Petkovic to create what, unless my memory is failing me, has to be Croatia's best chance yet! Collecting the ball on the left wing, Petkovic produces a lovely change of feet to beat both Militao and Silva, before laying it off for Brozovic at the top of the box. Brozovic has plenty of space to shoot, but sends his effort into orbit!
It's all Brazil ball in the Croatia box right now. Receiving the ball in the right-hand channel, Casemiro lifts a cross into the box towards the penalty spot, where Pedro is waiting. He launches himself at a scissor-kick. If it goes in, it's the goal of the tournament... but it doesn't go in. He doesn't connect properly with it, and it bounces straight into Livakovic's arms.
From deep on the left wing, Rodrygo drifts a curling, inswinging cross into the Croatia box. Paquetà has produced a lung-bursting run into the area to get on the end of Rodrygo's pass, but he can't quite reach it.
Back come Brazil. Rodrygo plays it left to Danilo, who's in space to cross. Cross he does, curling a ball over to the back stick, but Sosa is there to head away.
Perisic loses the ball on the left, giving Antony the chance to carry the ball forward. He conjures up a sumptuous change of feet to hoodwink Sosa, who promptly brings him down. Lovely skill from Antony, albeit in an area far from Croatia's box.
There were no substitutions by either team during the short break before extra time got going, by the way.
Brazil immediately win a corner, which Neymar delivers deep. Croatia head it clear, before Paquetà chases after the loose ball, with Juranovic pursuing him. Paquetà tumbles to the turf, complaining of a foul by Juranovic. No free-kick, say the officials.
Peeeep! Michael Oliver gets the first half of extra time underway.
Dominik Livakovic (second right) holds on to the ball after producing yet another save against Brazil.
(Photo: JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Eight Livakovic saves
I hadn't realised it was quite so many, I have to be honest. Livakovic has made eight saves so far against Brazil.
Peeep peeep peeep! Into extra time we go, for the eighth time in Croatia's last nine major-tournament knockout ties.
Brazil certainly created the chances to win the game in that second half, but they're up against a goalkeeper who's in fine, fine form.
Antony cuts in from the right and sends a left-footed trundler right into the arms of Livakovic. Extra time here we come.
Rodrygo leads a charge up the field, but is felled by Modric. No yellow card for the Croat, as far as I can see.
Perisic plays a ball back to Sosa which does his team-mate no favours. It's an absolute hospital pass, but Croatia get lucky. Pedro is adjudged to have fouled Sosa, and Zlatko Dalic's men have a free-kick.
Four minutes of time added on.
Neymar again slips it left to Rodrygo, who tries to cut it back into the box from the byline. It's blocked, and Perisic heads the corner away.
Neymar carries the ball forward, before slipping it left to Rodrygo. He takes on Juranovic, and if he beats him he's potentially in on the goalkeeper. He can't beat him. Juranovic has played very well today.
Sosa fizzes a good ball across the top of the box to Petkovic. Again, though, the striker can't do anything with it. He dallies too long, and is dispossessed.
From the throw-in, Brazil win it back and set off up the field once more, in search of an opener.
Antony's shot from the corner of the Croatia box is deflected into the path of Militao, who connects with a low, left-footed shot. It's just off target.
Time is almost up at Education City. Normal time, at least.
Vlasic turns and shoots on the edge of the Brazil box, but his effort is blocked.
Right away, though, Croatia do very well to press the Brazilians into an error, forcing Alisson to shank the ball out for a throw-in.
Brazil replace Richarlison with Pedro dos Santos.
Brazil open Croatia up once more, but Paquetà's shot is too close to Livakovic! Rodrygo lays it off for his team-mate to strike from the top of the box. He thumps it first time towards goal, but it's right at the Croatia goalkeeper.
A moment later, Casemiro lifts a cross into the box towards Richarlison, but the Spurs forward can only send his header well over the bar.
Modric picks up the ball in midfield and leads a Croatia break with one of those drives forward that have been his trademark. He then feeds it to Petkovic, who immediately loses it. Modric throws his arms up in frustration, understandably so.
Marquinhos hauls Modric down, and cannot be at all surprised to see Michael Oliver brandish a yellow card in his direction.
Yet again Livakovic keeps Brazil out! He's having an absolute stormer.
Neymar is released in behind the Croatia defence and into the area, although again he's driven a little wider than he might have liked. Livakovic is very quickly off his line to narrow the angle further, and there's no way through for Brazil once more.
Fifteen minutes to go at Education City Stadium. An error now from either side, and it could be curtains.
Antony cuts inside and tumbles to the turf under Sosa's challenge, but is told to get up by Oliver.
Brazil continue to put the Croats on the back foot, before Neymar's attempted cross is deflected up into the air and down into Livakovic's arms.
By the way, a look at the replay of that Antony flop to the floor suggests the referee should really have booked the Manchester United man. A clear dive.
Zlatko Dalic makes two substitutions, replacing Kramaric and Pasalic with Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic.
Kramaric controls on the right-hand corner, before spinning and shooting. Danilo gets in his way and blocks the shot, before being brought down by the Croatia forward.
That'll be Kramaric's final involvement.
Casemiro becomes the first Brazil player to be booked, for a foul on Kramaric.
Again Livakovic saves! It's an excellent chance for Paquetà, and you have to say Brazil are really starting to turn the screw.
Neymar drifts in from the left and plays it to Paquetà at the top of the box. Somehow, he manages to bustle his way past both Lovren and Gvardiol, and is suddenly on his own inside the box. Livakovic keeps his shot out, though!
Brazil win a free-kick in shooting range, left of centre. Casemiro it is who takes it... and he slaps it into the wall.
Here comes that Brazil change, and it's a big call from Tite. Vinícius is the man who makes way, his Real Madrid club-mate Rodrygo Goes coming on.
Perisic strokes a low ball into the Brazil box, towards Alisson's near post. It's a bit too close to the goalkeeper, who scoops it up with ease.
Brazil are preparing another change.
Neymar brings the ball forward on the right, and attempts to thread a pass through to Vinícius' run into the Croatia box. Lovren steps across to intercept, however.
An hour gone. It's a game that has definitely stepped up a notch in intensity since the break.
Brazil make their first substitution, and it's a like-for-like change. Antony is on for Raphinha.
There's another good chance for Brazil! Richarlison drops deep, turns and feeds a perfect through ball into the path of Neymar, who bursts into the Croatia area. He takes one touch to control and one touch to shoot, but he's pushed a little too wide for his liking. His shot is struck powerfully enough, but Livakovic saves without too much difficulty.
Back come Croatia. It's worked out to the left to Perisic, who clips a lovely little cross over to the back post. It's just too high for anybody in a red and white shirt to get on the end of it, but it was a very, very inviting delivery.
It's been a frenetic start to this second half. Croatia win a corner, which is delivered towards the back stick. It's headed down to Kramaric, who is in acres of space to shoot at the back stick... but his effort is blocked, and the flag is up anyway. Kramaric was offside.
Immediately, Brazil are back in the hunt for the opening goal. Neymar turns and shoots inside the box, but his effort is blocked.
There are then Brazil appeals for a penalty against Juranovic, who does seem to waft out an ill-placed arm that catches the ball. However, a VAR check determines that there's no spot-kick to be given, as there was a Brazil offside in the build-up.
What a save by Livakovic, who prevents an own goal with a fine reaction stop!
Raphinha slips a neat ball into Militao's run into the box, and when the Real Madrid man squares it, Gvardiol accidentally turns the ball goalwards from point blank range. Somehow, the keeper gets a foot to it to block.
Peeeeeep! We're back up and running.
Teams back out
Croatia and Brazil are both back out on the Education City Stadium pitch, and we're ready for the second half. There don't appear to be any half-time changes for either side.
Extra time again for Croatia?
I don't know about you, but after that first half my mind is already turning to the possibility of extra time in Al Rayyan.
Given Croatia's recent record in knockout ties, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise. Seven of their last eight games in the knockout stages of a major tournament have needed the additional half an hour, going back to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.
Brazil's 15th World Cup QF
By the way, Brazil are featuring in their 15th World Cup quarter-final today - a tournament record.
It's Croatia's third, and they're two for two so far...
Brazil captain Thiago Silva tussles for the ball with Croatia's Andrej Kramaric during a scoreless first half at Education City.
(Photo: REUTERS/Hannah Mckay)
Peeep peeep peeeep! That is indeed that. Goalless it remains at Education City, where there has been little to choose between the teams. It was an interesting first 45 - I found it interesting, at least - but it's also true that there wasn't a huge amount in the way of proper scoring chances.
It's oh so nicely poised for the second half.
Pasalic receives, peels away from the penalty area and slips the ball wide to Perisic... but the flag is up. Pasalic was offside. That, I imagine, will be that for the first half.
One minute of time added on at Education City Stadium.
It's been a very even opening 45.
Sosa feeds a low through ball into space on the Brazilian left, looking for Perisic's run forward. Thiago Silva is quickly across to snuff out the danger and clear.
Neymar strikes the free-kick at goal, but it's right down Livakovic's gullet. The shot took a touch of the Croat wall, but its path wasn't sufficiently diverted to cause the goalkeeper any problems.
Now Brazil do get themselves forward into a dangerous area. Vinícius jinks towards the penalty area, before his progress his halted when Brozovic brings him down on the left-hand corner of the box.
In general, there's been plenty of attacking action to tell you about in this first half, but the game has just hit a little bit of a lull in the last couple of minutes.
Mostly Brazil ball, but none of it in the final third.
Croatia's Luka Modric holds off Brazil's Vinícius Júnior.
(Photo: REUTERS/Lee Smith)
Casemiro lifts a ball into the Croatia box towards Richarlison - a player who, of course, is in the fight for the Golden Boot. He has three in Qatar so far, two behind France's Kylian Mbappé. Croatia deal with Casemiro's ball, though. Juranovic boots clear.
Again Juranovic looks up and pings a raking ball from right to left. His pass comes back down to earth at the back of the Brazil box, and - with Perisic in close attendance - Alisson races off his line to get a hand to it. The Brazilians bring it clear.
Now Brazil get their wish and Brozovic is booked. I have to confess I didn't see who he fouled; I was too busy typing as fast as my fingers will go.
Perisic shoots... but it flies over the bar!
Juranovic finds his team-mate with a fine crossfield ball, and the Tottenham player doesn't need a second invitation to cut inside and try to test Alisson. His effort is off target, however.
Brozovic nudges Vinícius over, and Brazil have a free-kick some 40 yards out or so. The Brazilians want a yellow for Brozovic, but Michael Oliver keeps his cards in his pocket.
Neymar lifts the free-kick high towards Casemiro's run to the back of the box, in what looks like a training-ground routine. Casemiro's first touch isn't on, though, and the chance is lost.
Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic battles for the ball with Brazil's Neymar.
(Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Modric delivers to the near post, but it's right to a yellow shirt. Brazil clear.
Just as I say Brazil have the upper hand, Juranovic leads a dangerous Croatia attack that wins them a enticing free-kick, and earns Danilo the first yellow card of the game. As Juranovic looks to burst towards the right_hand byline to cross, the left-back goes in with a very high boot and sends his man tumbling to the ground.
Tite's men win a corner on the right, which Croatia deal with.
It's been a good last few minutes for Brazil, though. They have the upper hand right now.
Two openings for Brazil, the first of which is beautifully worked. Vinícius collects the ball on the left wing, before making his way towards the Croatia box. His way to goal seems to be barred, but he plays a neat one-two with Richarlison, who lays it off for his team-mate at the top of the area. Vinícius' shot is blocked, though.
A moment later, Neymar barrels his way into the Croatia area before shooting low, but it's right at Livakovic. The keeper gathers with relative ease.
Vinícius sends an outswinging, left-footed cross into the Croatia area, but Gvardiol is perfectly placed to head away.
Croatia counter, working the ball out to Kramaric on the left wing. He cuts inside and shoots.... but it's well blocked on the edge of the Brazil area.
It's been a really evenly-contested first 20 minutes or so.
Now Croatia win a corner on the left, which Modric will take. His delivery is headed clear at the near post, but back come Zlatko Dalic's men, and again Modric is involved.
The midfielder picks Casemiro's pocket as Brazil bring it out from the back, before getting his head up and lifting a cross to the back post. Militao gets to it first and the Brazilians clear, but it's been a very encouraging last couple of minutes for Croatia.
That's a fabulous ball into the box by Pasalic, whipped low with plenty of zip towards the near post. Both Juranovic and Perisic charge towards the front stick to get on the end of the delivery... but neither can make contact! Croatia's best attacking moment thus far.
Oooh, that's a nice little ball from Neymar, who touches it inside from the left for Neymar to receive and run. That he does, galloping towards the penalty area as Croatia defenders backpedal furiously. However, Vinícius maybe takes a second or two too long to make up his mind. He had a pocket of space in which to send in a shot, but hesitated and played it out wide towards Raphinha. Sosa was there to intercept.
Juranovic swings over a deep cross from the right, looking for Perisic. As Japan will tell you, Perisic is a decent old header of the ball. This time, however, he's beaten to it by Militao, and ends up fouling the Real Madrid defender.
There's the first attacking moment of note for Brazil. They work it out to Vinícius Júnior on the left, and we all have a pretty good idea of what he's going to do next. Yep, he cuts inside and looks to test Livakovic, but he can't direct his shot far enough into the far corner. It's a comfortable save for the Croatia goalkeeper.
Casemiro brings down Mateo Kovacic, his former Real Madrid club-mate, giving Croatia an early opportunity to send a dead ball into the penalty area.
It's not a great delivery, though, and Brazil clear with ease.
Brazil are bidding to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the ninth time; Croatia, for the third time.
That's a mighty impressive record for the Croats, given they only made their World Cup debut in 1998. Every time Croatia have progressed from the group stages, they've reached at least the last four.
Peeeeep! Michael Oliver gets us underway!
A reminder of the teams
Before we kick off, let's quickly remind ourselves of the Croatia and Brazil teams:
Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic
Alisson; Militao, Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo; Casemiro, Paquetà; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison
Out come the teams!
The teams are out at Education City Stadium! First up, it's anthem time. We start with Croatia, followed by Brazil's. I do enjoy the Brazilian anthem, I have to say. It's a jaunty little number. Although nothing comes close to the Italian anthem, obviosuly.
Brazil out to end barren knockout run against Europeans
However, it should be noted that Brazil are on a terrible run against teams from Europe in the World Cup knockout stages. Since beating Germany in the 2002 final, the Brazilians have lost five straight knockout ties in the tournament against European opposition.
Opta backing Brazil to beat Croatia... and go all the way
The bookmakers are certainly backing Brazil to beat Croatia today - and so too are football stats specialists Opta. Their World Cup match predictor gives Brazil a 69.4% chance of victory inside 90 minutes at Education City Stadium, while Croatia are back on just 11.7%. Opta say there's a 18.9% chance that the game will be a draw and go to extra time.
In terms of the teams' possibilities of lifting the trophy in Qatar, meanwhile, Opta's predictor has Brazil as favourites, giving the Seleçao a 28.5% chance of winning their sixth World Cup. Croatia, on the other hand, have a 2.8% chance, Opta say. That makes Zlatko Dalic's men seventh favourites as things stand, ahead of only Morocco.
The referee in Al Rayyan will be England's Michael Oliver, who is officiating at his first World Cup. The 37-year-old, who has been a FIFA international referee since 2012, has taken charge of two games in Qatar so far: Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Japan in Group E, and Mexico's 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia in Group C.
My colleague Andy Hall has put together a profile of Oliver.
Croatia's players warm up at Education City Stadium.
(Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse)
Should you be wondering how you can tune in to Croatia vs Brazil, let me point you in the direction of the useful guide we've prepared with all the details on where you can watch the game, be it on TV or online.
Hello, this is William Allen taking over from Roddy, with thanks to him for his sterling build-up chat. I’ll be taking you through the final half hour ahead of kick-off, before providing you with minute-by-minute commentary of the action in Al Rayyan.
Can't believe there are only eight World Cup games to go! That's the problem with the knockout stages; they offer up plenty of enticing match-ups, such as the clash that's about to get underway... but they're over so quickly!
Modric and Silva, both 37, start
Luka Modric and Thiago Silva say 37 is the new 27!
Maybe there's hope for some of us yet!
Croatia World Cup record
You will, of course, remember Croatia reaching the World Cup final last time out. They never looked likely to win the final, suffering a 4-2 defeat to France but the fact that a national of just under four million inhabitants had got that far was an incredible achievement in itself.
Croatia are the masters at punching above their weight in international football although 2018 was just the second time that they had made it beyond the group stages in their short history. The Croats also lost against the French in the semi-finals in 1998, going on to finish in third spot but failed to make it past the group stage in 2002, 2006 and 2014, and didn't qualify altogether in 2010.
In any case, they tend to either go deep or go home early, which is a good sign considering they've already made it this far.
You might be unsurprised to know the answer to this question but you might be shocked to see how far ahead they are of everyone else.
Brazil have, of course, won the World Cup on a record five occasions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), one more than Italy and Germany, whose 2006 and 2014 triumphs have closed the gap on the South Americans, who haven’t lifted the trophy, or even made the final, since the 2002 edition in South Korea. 20 years ago, maybe they’re due one?
A Seleção were beaten in the quarter-finals in Russia last time out but are favourites for most to go on and win the competition this time around.
Croatia vs Brazil: one other previous World Cup meeting
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Brazil were known for fielding the 'Magic Square' - Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano and Kaká. Unfortunately, there wasn't too much else that was magic about them, as they were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals, thanks to a Zinedine Zidane masterclass.
One of their group games was a 1-0 victory over Croatia, which didn't stand out for any particular reason and has probably been forgotten about by most. Kaká scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time as Brazil cruised to three wins out of three in the group stage.
Croatia vs Brazil: last competitive meeting
Does anyone remember the last (competitive) meeting between Croatia and Brazil?
That's right, it was in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup, played in Brazil. Marcelo's own goal gave Croatia the lead after just 11 minutes before Neymar took over. The then-Barcelona man was at the centre of everything for Brazil back then, much more so than now, and the nation's hopes were pinned on him.
He scored twice either side of half-time before a late effort from Oscar sealed a 3-1 victory and got the hosts dreaming of a first World Cup title since 2002. They're still waiting.
The less said the better about how that tournament ended for them (a 7-1 semi-final thrashing at the hands of eventual winners Germany, in case you didn't remember).
Croatia starting line-up vs Brazil
Livakovic; Juranovic, Gvardiol, Lovren, Sosa; Modric, Kovacic, Brozovic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic.
As we thought, Josip Juranovic starts at right-back and Borna Sosa returns on the opposite flank. Andrej Kramaric is given the nod to start in the central attacking role.
Croatia starting XI vs Brazil
And here we have the Croatia line-up!
A lot of familiar faces in here, of course. But how will they have recovered from having gone the distance in the round of 16 against Japan?
Brazil starting line-up vs Croatia
Just to try to put that Brazil line-up into some sort of formation:
Alisson; Militão, Marquinhos, Silva, Danilo; Casemiro, Paquetà; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinícius; Richarlison.
As expected, central defender Militão continues at right-back, with right-back Danilo at left-back. Does that make sense? A very attacking line-up from Tite once again, with Casemiro the man left to do most of the dirty work in midfield.
Brazil starting XI vs Croatia
We have a starting XI! And it's Brazil who go first.
Any surprises? I think not. The same team that started against South Korea in the round of 16.
Will Croatia be 'sleighing' the favourites today?
Croatia fans are already in the ground, with this fellow getting into the Christmas spirit early. Santa apparently goes by the name of Djed Mraz in Croatia, with the wee ones leaving their shoes on the windowsills for the jolly gift-giver to leave the presents in or by. Apologies for the atrocious pun by the way.
Tite defends Brazil dancing against South Korea
More on that dancing...
After criticism in some quarters for being 'disrespectful' (did anyone ask the South Koreans?), Brazil coach Tite felt the need to defend his players' - and indeed his - actions while celebrating goals in that round of 16 tie.
“This is not my team, this is the Brazil team and I have the responsibility of being head coach. I am very sorry, but I won’t make comments about people who do not know Brazilian football history, Brazilian culture, the way each one of us is. So, to those I leave the squabbling to one side. I want my connection to be to my job, to people I relate to, to those who relate to my work, who know how much I respect and know my history. Those are the ones I give my heart and attention to. I am apart from all of this. I will continue to be so, because I respect the culture and the way I am, and this national team I play with. Having said this, in terms of education, we will definitely be identifying with [young people] and lots of other kids who will dance because that’s our culture when we score, and it’s not being disrespectful to anyone. That’s how we do things, that’s us in terms of culture, but we also help the education of these kids in school and we will continue doing things in our own way.”
“Once again, the Brazilian football identity is not me, it started a long time ago with desperate communities training boys who could produce good football. Even with all the risks it entails. I know we face criticism but that’s the football I believe in, even if we face challenges and criticisms for not winning the World Cup, we keep moving forwards. That’s what we believe in.”
Not quite as chilled as that previous tweet but I'll reiterate what I said before: you wouldn't know these guys were about to play a World Cup quarter-final!
There was some well-publicised dancing in the 4-1 win over South Korea in the last round, head coach Tite included, would you bet against there being more today?
Not specifically Croatia vs Brazil-related but very much Brazil-related.
You may already be aware that Pelé hasn't been too well of late. The only man to have won three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970) was admitted to hospital last week and things did not look promising, although our fears seem to have been allayed a little in the last few days.
In any case, we've set up a dedicated page for all things Pelé, which includes updates on how he's getting on, tributes that have been paid to him and articles celebrating the life and times of the great man himself.
So if you want to know how many goals he scored for Brazil, how many international titles he won apart from those World Cups, whether he ever played against Diego Maradona and much more, head on over for a look!
Brazil on their way to Education City!
Are they going to give Croatia an education today or are they the ones who'll be getting educated?
This is surely as chilled as it gets before a bit game. You wouldn't think they're off to play in a World Cup quarter-final, would you?
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic: Brazil are terrifying
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic, meanwhile, also admitted that Brazil were favourites for the game and the tournament:
"Brazil are the favourites, let's face it. Brazil are the most powerful and the best national team at the World Cup. What I've seen so far, when you take a look at their players, their quality, skills and value, then it is indeed terrifying. We need to enter the match with much faith, self-confidence and looking for our chances, enjoy the occasion of playing Brazil, that's it."
Croatia's Mateo Kovacic: We need to show our physical ability in every duel
Croatia midfield man Mateo Kovacic believes his team will have to show physical fight if they are to cause an upset against Brazil:
“We showed that we are in great physical shape. We worked a lot during these World Cup games. The Japanese team were very disciplined and it was difficult to break them down. But we showed a lot of physical fitness and I believe we can play even better.”
“In the Premier League, I got used to very tough, physical games. And that is something that we need to show against Brazil. Of course, we want to show our technical ability as well, but yes, I would agree that we need to show our physical ability in every duel, in every position.”
Croatia's Dejan Lovren: Brazil have two teams that can play at this level
Speaking ahead of the game, Croatia defender Dejan Lovren talked of how Brazil were favourites to win the competition (mind games?) and spoke about their impressive strength in depth:
“Brazil were favourites before the tournament. They have two teams that can play at this level. Any of their substitutes can come on and make an instant impact. We respect everybody and that is how we work.
“How we can stop them? It is simple. Our goal is to try and stop the whole team. It will be a very difficult fight.”
Round of 16: Brazil vs South Korea
Was Brazil’s first-half performance against South Korea the best from any team in the 2022 World Cup so far? Portugal ran them close 24 hours later but I think Tite’s side might just have the edge. The flamboyant Brazilian teams of the 1970 and 1982, amongst others, sometimes make us forget the more functional vintages we have also seen over the years but this display was one which lived up to their stereotype. Fast-paced, seat-of-your-pants attacking, which South Korea, who bravely tried to go toe-to-toe, had no answer to.
Goals from Vinicius, Neymar (penalty), Richarlison and Paquetà had Brazil four goals ahead at half-time, but that could’ve been seven or goals. They were that good. And they were able to take their foot completely off the gas in the second half, which means they should be nice and fresh to take on Croatia.
Round of 16: Japan vs Croatia
Croatia confirmed their status as penalty shoot-out kings after having won multiple shootouts on the way to reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup. Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the hero, saving three Japanese penalties to send his nation through to the semi-finals. "They shot in a strange manner," he claimed after the game. "I don't think these penalties were too difficult to defend." How modest.
The game won't go down as an all-time classic, with opportunities few and far between and neither side prepared to commit too many bodies forward for fear of losing. Daizen Maeda gave Japan the lead just before half-time but Ivan Perisic's excellent header levelled the scores 10 minutes into the second half. Penalties seemed inevitable from fairly early on after half-time and it was Croatia who prevailed, again.
Brazil: the group stages
Brazil have been considered one of the favourites to emerge victorious at the Qatar 2022 World Cup for quite some time and lived up to that billing after seeing off the challenges of Switzerland and Serbia in their first two group matches.
Those two victories allowed them to qualify from Group G with a game to spare, although a shock 1-0 defeat to Cameroon in the final group game serves as a reminder that they are not infallible.
Should we have read too much into that loss? Probably not. Tite’s men were already assured of a place in the round of 16 and still finished top of the group anyway, while the Brazil head coach made a raft of changes to his starting line-up for that clash, opting to rest the majority of the players who had earned six points of six against their European opponents.
On top of that, they would go on to fare rather well in the round of 16...
Croatia: the group stages
Croatia were the only team in their group not to suffer at the hands of 2022 World Cup surprise package Morocco, although they were unable to defeat the Atlas Lions, being held to a 0-0 draw. The Croats and Belgium also played out a stalemate, although Zlatko Dalic’s men were slightly fortunate to come away from that match with a point as Romelu Lukaku missed a series of good chances for the Belgians in the second half.
A 4-1 victory over Canada proved to be the key to progressing out of the group, although that was also far from straightforward, especially in the first half. Alphonso Davies gave the Canadians a surprise lead in the opening minutes but two goals from Andrej Kramaric and further strikes by Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer gave the Croats a convincing victory in the end. Croatia progressed with five points from two matches, only conceding once.
Brazil: early team news
After such a superb performance in his team’s last match, Tite will surely be tempted to name the same starting line-up once again. Alex Sandro is a doubt once more because of a hip injury, which means Danilo, normally a right-back, could again switch flanks and central defender Eder Militão may start out on the right.
Neymar returned from an ankle injury against South Korea and doesn’t appear to have suffered any setbacks, which means he should again line up alongside Raphinha and Vinícius in support of Richarlison.
Croatia: early team news
The main questions surrounding the Croatia line-up are related to who will start in the full-back positions and who will lead the lead in attack.
Right-back is a tale of two Josips; Stanisic is injured, which means Juranovic should start in his place. Left-back is a tale of two Bornas; Sosa missed the round of 16 game against Japan because of a virus but could return in place of Barasic for this one.
Up front, Ante Budimir and Marko Livaja are hoping to dislodge Bruno Petkovic, who started against the Japanese. Head coach Zltako Dalic doesn’t appear to have settled on his best attacking line-up and could therefore make changes in that area of the team
Four World Cup quarter-finals today and tomorrow
We’ve got four World Cup quarter-finals coming up over the next two days, all of which will be covered live here on AS USA!
Croatia vs Brazil
Netherlands vs Argentina
Morocco vs Portugal
England vs France
First up is Croatia vs Brazil from Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. The clash kicks off in around two-and-a-half hours time, that’s at 10am ET. Hopefully you’re up nice and early for this one! We’ll be bringing you all the build-up before the game and (almost) every kick once the action gets underway in Qatar.
Croatia vs Brazil: hello and welcome!
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening!
Wherever you are in the world, welcome and thank you for joining us. The Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-finals get underway today and what an opening clash we’ve got for you, as Croatia take on Brazil.
Brazil, as you might expect, will be favourites for this one but bet against the Croatians, the perennial overachievers, at your peril!