Arabnews24.ca:Tuesday 6 December 2022 05:59 AM: DOHA — Five-time champions Brazil handed a hammering 4-1 defeat to South Korea as they stormed through the quarter-finals of the ongoing 2022 World Cup.
Brazil will now take on Croatia, edged Japan on penalties to progress into the last eight.
Brazil 4-1 South Korea
It was the same old Neymar out there, looking fit and scoring a goal to move closer to Pele’s all-time record and lead Brazil into the World Cup quarter-finals, AP reported.
Neymar returned from injury and converted a first-half penalty in Brazil’s 4-1 win over South Korea in the round of 16. He reached 76 goals with the national team, one shy of the mark set by Pele, who said he would watch the match from his hospital bed in Sao Paulo.
South Korea was trying to advance past the round of 16 for the first time since its historic run to the semifinals as a co-host in 2002.
Neymar damaged ligaments in his right ankle in the team’s opening match against Serbia and at the time there were doubts if he would play again at the World Cup. He was clearly back, and there were no signs of the injury as he led Brazil to a comfortable victory and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals for the eighth straight time.
Neymar scored his first goal of this year’s World Cup after kissing the ball and calmly sending a low shot from the spot after waiting the goalkeeper to choose a side in the 13th minute. He danced as his teammates huddled around him, then did dance moves along with Vinicius Junior and other teammates before raising his arms to the sky and smiling broadly.
Vinicius Junior scored the first goal from inside the area after a cross by Raphinha in the seventh minute, Richarlison added to the lead from close range after a nice exchange of passes by the Brazilians in the 29th, and Lucas Paqueta scored the fourth before halftime after an assist by Vinicius Junior.
They celebrated each goal by dancing, and even Brazil coach Tite participated in Richarlison’s traditional “pigeon” celebration.
Paik Seung-ho scored South Korea’s goal in the 76th minute.
Croatia 3-1 Japan
Croatia reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a dramatic 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over Japan after a tense last-16 clash ended 1-1, AFP reported.
Mario Pasalic struck the winning penalty to send Croatia through after Ivan Perisic had pulled Croatia level in the 55th minute of normal time following Daizen Maeda’s opener for Japan just before the break.
Croatia now faces Brazil in the last eight and continued midfield icon Luka Modric’s stay at his fourth and likely final World Cup.
Japan’s bid to reach the last eight for the first time in their history came to a crushing end after another display of the sort which saw off Spain and Germany on their way to topping Group E.
Japan could easily have been ahead within three minutes when Shogo Taniguchi glanced a header wide from point-blank range, and 10 minutes later Daizen Maeda came close to turning in Junya Ito’s brilliantly placed low ball from the right flank.
In the meantime Perisic had let off a shot from a tight angle which led to a goalmouth scramble, but had Croatia scored they risked the goal being ruled out for what looked like a clear push on Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Bruno Petkovic then wasted a great opportunity in the 25th minute, strolling through almost unopposed onto a long through ball only to dawdle and fail to get a pass off to Andrej Kramaric who was charging into the box.
Kramaric was then too slow to latch on to Perisic’s dangerous flick-on and from there Japan took control, and the lead.
Daichi Kamada had already blasted over after a superb passing move when in the 43rd minute Maeda fired in the opener after Ritsu Doan’s cross was knocked down by Maya Yoshida.
Japan looked the better team and ready to inflict more damage but out of the blue Croatia’s most dangerous player Perisic levelled the scores with a bullet header from Dejan Lovren’s deep cross.
Almost immediately afterwards Wataru Endo responded by having a good strike tipped over the bar by Dominik Livakovic, before Shuichi Gonda pulled off the save of the match to keep out Modric’s beautifully-struck, dripping shot.
Modric was replaced nine minutes into the first half of extra-time in which Japan had the best chance, Kaoru Mitoma’s effort well tipped away by Livakovic.
With penalties drawing close, one final chance fell to Modric’s replacement Lovro Majer, who dragged his shot wide, but his team prevailed in the shoot-out to end the Blue Samurai’s entertaining adventure.