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Japan’s World Cup 2022 journey ends after high-stakes penalty shootout against Croatia

AL WAKRAH, QATAR – DECEMBER 05: Takumi Minamino of Japan reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium on December 5, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Pawel Andrachiewicz/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

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    Japan’s magical FIFA World Cup 2022 journey has come to an end after a high-stakes penalty shootout with Croatia on Monday.

    The match, which took place at Al Janoub Stadium in in Al Wakrah, Qatar, saw Japan and Croatia end the first 90 minutes with a 1-1 draw. Daizen Maeda scored a goal during the first half of the match, but Croatia managed to catch up following Ivan Perišić’s goal during the second half.

    After 30 minutes of extra time resulted in no new goals, both teams headed to a penalty shootout. Japan failed its first two goal attempts while Croatia succeeded in both.

    Then, in a sudden turn of events, Japan finally scored, and Croatia failed its third goal attempt. However, that was quickly followed by another unsuccessful goal attempt by Japan. Croatia managed to score a goal afterwards, which led to the European country’s victory through a 3-1 score on penalties.

    The Japan men’s national team has notably reached the Round of 16 in four of their last six World Cup appearances, but they have yet to win it all. Prior to their recent loss, the Samurai Blue was one of the few remaining Asian Football Confederation (AFC) member countries that had a shot at winning this year’s World Cup. They upset contenders Spain and Germany during their 2022 World Cup run.

    The East Asian nation’s fans have notably made headlines throughout the past few weeks for cleaning up the stadium after their country’s matches.

    On Friday, Croatia will head to the tournament’s quarterfinals, playing against whoever wins the South Korea versus Brazil match scheduled for later today. 


    Featured Image via Getty

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