2 Brazil players who performed and 3 who underperformed against Croatia | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Looking to secure passage into the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, five-time world champions Brazil took on Croatia at the Education City Stadium on Friday evening (9 December). Buoyed by Dominik Livakovic’s heroic performance (11 saves), the Europeans ended Canarinho’s dream, beating them 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at end of extra time.

It was a frisky start in Al Rayyan, with neither team asserting themselves in the opening exchanges. Five minutes into the game, Vinicius Junior found himself in a bit of space on the left flank. He failed to find a teammate with his initial pass, but the ball found its way back to him. The winger then tried his luck with a curler from the edge of the box but it was collected easily by Dominik Livakovic.

In the 13th minute, Croatia orchestrated a lightning-quick counter-attack. Josip Juranovic dashed down the inside-right channel before slipping a pass to Mario Pasalic. The winger swung in a teasing cross into the area, but Ivan Perisic miscued his shot from the center of the box.

Eight minutes later, Vinicius Junior cut in from the left flank, played a little one-two with Richarlison, and tried to curl the ball into the bottom-right corner. Dejan Lovren put in an excellent block to keep the winger from testing the keeper.

Two minutes into the second half, Eder Militao delivered a low cross from the right flank. Josko Gvardiol tried to clear it at the near post but guided it towards his own goal instead. Livakovic popped up with a crucial save to stop the ball from going in.

In the 66th minute, Lucas Paqueta collected a loose ball inside the Croatian box and hit the ball on the half-volley. Livakovic rushed off his line to deny him. Nine minutes later, Neymar rained down on Croatia’s goal from the left flank. Livakovic once again dashed off his line to smother his shot.

Both teams tried to go ahead before the end of regulation time, but failed to do so. Goalless at the end of 90 minutes, the match went into extra time.

The deadlock was finally broken by Brazilian superstar Neymar in the injury time of the first half of extra time. Neymar received a return from Paqueta, tiptoed his way into the box, and produced a sublime finish to beat the in-form Livakovic.

Just when it looked like Croatia did not have any more left to give, they popped up with a moment of magic. Mislav Orsic dashed down the inside left channel and found Bruno Petkovic with a low cross inside the area. Petkovic put his foot through the ball and found the back of the net with the help of a fortunate deflection from Marquinhos.

With the game level at 1-1 at the end of extra time, the first quarter-final at the 2022 FIFA World Cup went to penalties. Rodrygo saw his penalty saved by Livakovic while Marquinhos hit the post in the shootout. Croatia put away all four of their penalties to win the penalty shootout 4-2.

Here are three Brazilian players who disappointed and two who shone as Selecao crashed out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday:

Underperformed: Raphinha

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Barcelona right-winger Raphinha endured a frustrating evening at the Education City Stadium. Croatia marked him tightly, making sure he did not have much space to run into. They also kept him from linking up with his teammates, smothering his creativity.

The former Leeds United winger neither managed to lodge any shots nor did he create any goalscoring opportunities. He also misplaced a cross, played only 17 passes (81% accuracy), and lost possession nine times. Seeing his hapless state, Tite replaced him with Manchester United’s Antony in the 56th minute.

Performed: Richarlison

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Brazilian center-forward Richarlison did not lodge any shots on target against Croatia. However, he still managed to make a positive impact on the game. He held up the ball superbly, created multiple chances, and did reasonably well in one-on-one duels.

Richarlison you had a great tournament 2026 will be yours 🫶🇧🇷

Against the 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists, Richarlison played four key passes, created two big chances, won three duels, and drew a foul. He also helped out defensively, attempting a tackle and making a clearance.

Underperformed: Vinicius Junior

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Having scored his first FIFA World Cup goal in the 4-1 round-of-16 win over South Korea, Vinicius Junior came into the match in good spirits. The Real Madrid man oozed confidence in the opening exchanges, cutting in finely from the left flank. Unfortunately, he could not keep up the good work as Croatia tightened their grip around him. He lost possession quite a few times, misplaced his deliveries, and never looked like breaking the deadlock.

How will Tite tell this kids he had Antony on the pitch over Vinicius?

Before being subbed for Rodrygo in the 66th minute, Vinicius Junior lost possession eight times, misplaced all three of his attempted crosses, and only completed eight passes (80% accuracy).

Performed: Neymar

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar scored a historic goal to win the game against Croatia. Getting on the ball in the middle of the park, Neymar passed it to Paqueta who was in an advanced position. Having continued his run, Neymar got the return from Paqueta, slid into the sliver of space between the left-back and the center-back, and found the roof of Livakovic’s net.

With the goal, Neymar became the joint-all-time top scorer for Brazil, equalling Pele’s record tally of 77 goals. Neymar also played a key pass, delivered three accurate crosses, completed three dribbles, drew four fouls, and made an interception.

Underperformed: Rodrygo

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Real Madrid winger Rodrygo came on for Vinicius Junior in the 66th minute. The forward made some encouraging runs and played a couple of key passes, but was at fault for missing Brazil’s opening penalty kick. The 21-year-old’s penalty lacked power and placement, making it straightforward for Livakovic to dive to his left and keep it out.

Luka Modrić went to console Rodrygo after he missed his penalty 😢

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final, Rodrygo misplaced all four of his crosses, lost seven of 11 duels, lost possession 10 times, and committed three fouls. He also did not lodge any shots, failed to pull off both of his dribbles, and was dribbled past once.

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Edited by Sushan Chakraborty

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