Brazil crash out of world cup as Croatia advances in penalty

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Tournament favourites Brazil were knocked out of the World Cup on penalties as Croatia kept their nerve to edge through to the semi-finals.

Croatia, beaten finalists four years ago, scored with all four of their spot-kicks as Rodrygo – taking his team’s first kick – was denied by the brilliant Dominik Livakovic and Marquinhos’ crucial fourth effort struck the post.

As the ball hit the foot of the woodwork and bounced away, Croatia’s team sprinted to celebrate with their goalkeeper, while the Brazil players hit the turf, knowing their dream of a sixth crown had come to an end.

After an engrossing 90 minutes, Tite’s men thought they had won it in extra time when Neymar scored a thumping effort to equal Brazil’s ‘official’ men’s goalscoring record.

But substitute Bruno Petkovic had other ideas, stroking in a 116th-minute equaliser with Croatia’s first shot on target in the match to take the game to the nerve-shredding shootout.

And it was the European side who emerged victorious once more, having done so by the same method against Japan in the last 16, to set up a semi-final meeting with the Netherlands or Argentina on Tuesday.

Brazil were supposed to dance through to the last four in their quest for another star on their shirt but their hopes were ended in the cruellest fashion.

Neymar, who scored his 77th international goal to equal Pele’s official mark, now shares a record recognised by Fifa but not the national team – as they also counted goals netted by their three-time World Cup winner in friendlies against club sides.

And the Paris St-Germain forward will not get the opportunity to surpass the legend at this tournament, as Brazil suffered woe against a European nation once again. Since beating Germany in the 2002 final, they have been knocked out of five successive World Cups by a team from Europe.