World Cup Monday Recap: No. 1-ranked Brazil dominant in Round of 16, while Croatia beat Japan on penalty kicks

Editorial Use Only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Javier Garcia/Shutterstock (13647770ch) Neymar of Brazil at full time Brazil v Korea Republic, FIFA World Cup 2022, Round of 16, Football, Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar – 05 Dec 2022

World Cup Monday Recap: No. 1-ranked Brazil dominant in Round of 16, while Croatia beat Japan on penalty kicks

Recapping the Monday action:


  • What: World Cup, Round of 16
  • When: Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 @ 1 p.m. CT
  • Where: Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakrah, Qatar)
  • FIFA World Ranking: Brazil (No. 1), South Korea (No. 28)

Brazil erupted for four first-half goals in the first 36 minutes of action en route to a dominant 4-1 victory over South Korea on Monday in the Round of 16 at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah.

The “Selecao” will now continue their quest for a sixth World Cup title against Croatia in the quarterfinals, with a highly-anticiapted date with the 2018 World Cup runners-up set for 9 a.m. CT on Friday at Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Brazil is 4-0 all-time against Croatia, netting two World Cup victories by a combined score of 4-1 at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar returned to the starting lineup for Brazil after missing the final two matches of group play. He moved within one shot of all-time great Pelé on the Brazilian top goal-scorers list after he converted a penalty kick in the 15th minute to make it 2-0.

It was the 22-year-old rising star Vinícius Júnior of Real Madrid who opened the scoring barrage for Brazil when he patiently curled a soft shot into the right side of the net in just the seventh minute of first-half play on a cross from Raphinha and an official assist by Neymar. Neymar’s penalty attempt came less than 10 minutes later when South Korea’s Jung Woo-Young fouled Richarlison on the outer edge of the box. Richarlison himself made it 3-0 in the 29th minute – on an official assist from Thiago Silva – when the 25-year-old Tottenham forward registered his third overall goal of the tournament for No. 1-ranked Brazil. Midfielder Lucas Paquetá followed suit in the 36th minute on an assist from Júnior to make it 4-0 heading into the half.

No. 28-ranked South Korea managed a late consolation goal by Seung Ho-Paik to close the deficit to 4-1 in the 76th minute, but the Asian Tigers couldn’t capitalize on enough chances to make it a truly competitive match in the end. South Korea managed six shots on goal to eight for Brazil, although most of that came in the second half after the game had already gotten away.

Before the match, it had been reported that the Brazilian legend Pelé would be cheering on his side from the hospital while recovering from a respiratory illness, and Brazil surely did not disappoint in its first World Cup match to ever record four goals in the first half alone.

With the win, Brazil now moves to 7-0-1 all-time against South Korea and also records its eighth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals, a highly-impressive feat dating back to the 1994 World Cup.

CROATIA 1, JAPAN 1 (Croatia win 3-1 on penalties)

  • What: World Cup, Round of 16
  • When: Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 @ 9 a.m. CT
  • Where: Stadium 974 (Doha, Qatar)
  • FIFA World Ranking: Croatia (No. 12), Japan (No. 24)

Croatia outlasted Japan on penalty kicks to earn a second consecutive trip to the World Cup quarterfinals at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar. Croatia’s past four knockout stage victories have miraculously all come via extra time wins since 2018 – including three of them via penalty kicks – when they beat Denmark in the Round of 16 (3-2 on penalty kicks), Russia in the quarterfinals (4-3 on penalty kicks) and then defeated England 2-1 in the semifinals with a goal in the 109th minute. The Croatians’ veteran leadership, experience, and calmness in the box eventually were too much for the upstart Japanese to overcome on Monday. The “Fiery Boys” of Croatia needed just three penalty kicks to advance despite kicking second. Takumi Minamino and Kaoru Mitoma of Japan missed the Samurai Blues’ first two penalty kick attempts, both low grounders near the corner of the net, which were recorded as saves by Croatia’s Dominik Livaković.

Livaković had finished group play ranked in the top five in goals prevented rate (1.9 per match), and the 27-year-old answered the call once more with three saves during both regulation time and extra time against Japan. Although Takuma Asano calmly found the net on Japan’s third penalty kick, it was Livaković again who recorded his third penalty kick save against Maya Yoshida, another feeble low attempt that seemed all too predictable for the Samurai Blues on their fourth shot. Nikola, Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mario Pasalic all converted their penalty kicks for Croatia to send their nation through to the quarterfinals, while Marko Livaja was the only one to have his attempt blocked on Croatia’s fourth attempt by Japan’s Shūichi Gonda.

Japan had taken an early lead in the 43rd minute on a goal by Daizen Maeda and held the 1-0 advantage through the halftime break. It was Croatia’s Ivan Perisic, however, who netted the equalizing goal on a header in the 55th minute to make it 1-1 and eventually force extra time.

Croatia held the final edge in time of possession (58% to 42%) and total shots (17 to 13), although Japan was closely behind and ended up finishing with more corner kicks (eight to five) and tied Croatia with four shots on goal overall. Each side used four second-half substitutions to breathe life into its respective offenses, with Croatia’s manager even pulling off veteran Luka Modric in a move that surprised many so late in the match with possible penalty kicks looming.

A Croatian loss likely would’ve meant the final World Cup match for Modric, who was easily his team’s best player during its World Cup finals run in 2018, but Modric will live to see at least one more match as Croatia battle Brazil in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. CT on Friday at Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Brazil is 4-0 all-time against Croatia, netting two World Cup victories by a combined score of 4-1 in two group-stage matches at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

Gonda had allowed just one score to each of Spain and Germany in Japan’s two historic upset wins during group play – and allowed exactly one goal in each of its three group matches – but he received no help from his teammates in the most important stage of the match here.

The 33-year-old veteran goalkeeper Gonda had also finished fourth overall during the group stage by averaging 1.6 prevented goals per game, and he was also top six with 1.8 goals prevented per game on 14 total shots heading into the Round of 16. It was a disappointing defeat for Japan, which had hopes of making a deeper run after its two historic upset wins.

Japan has still never been to the quarterfinals, losing for the second time in the Round of 16 via penalty kicks, the previous instance coming at the hands of Paraguay in 2010 (0-0, 3-5 on PKs). Japan now has seven straight World Cup appearances under their belt since their first-ever trip in 1998 and has advanced to the knockout stage in four of those seven. A first-time berth in the quarterfinals still awaits, although the Japanese national team and its fans will certainly leave Qatar proud to have finished first in what many called the “Group of Death.” 

Round of 16/Knockout Stage Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 6

  • Who: Morocco (No. 22) vs. Spain (No. 7)
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Education City Stadium (Doha, Qatar)
  • Who: Portugal (No. 9) vs. Switzerland (No. 15)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Lusail Iconic Stadium (Lusail, Qatar)

Quarterfinals/Knockout Stage Schedule

Friday, Dec. 9

  • Who: Netherlands (No. 8) vs. Argentina (No. 3)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Lusail Iconic Stadium (Lusail, Qatar)
  • Who: Brazil (No. 1) vs. Croatia (No. 12)
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Education City Stadium (Doha, Qatar)

Saturday, Dec. 10

  • Who: England (No. 5) vs. France (No. 4)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor, Qatar)
  • Who: Portugal/Switzerland winner vs. Spain/Morocco winner
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Al Thumama Stadium (Doha, Qatar)

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