World Cup: How tenacious Croatia executed perfect blueprint to upset Brazil


This tenacious Croatia facet merely refuse to die and shone a lightweight on how to topple the previous World Cup favourites Brazil. Nerves jangling from the mere trace of penalty kicks for many, Croatia as an alternative relish this intense psychological battle on the game’s greatest stage, thriving when it issues most.

Before the penalty drama although, Zlatko Dalic unveiled a blueprint with extra nuance than merely surviving and a reliance on the warrior-like defending at their disposal. Josip Juranovic emerged as an unlikely talisman because the 2018 runners-up shook the Selecao at instances with plenty of adventurous forrays into the ultimate third.

Anticipation or a fast response, Croatia coped admirably with Tite’s need to push as a lot of his star-studded assault into the ultimate third, made potential by Danilo’s uncommon function. With Mario Pasalic initially working again and keeping track of Vini Jr, the Juventus defender stepped up and tucked inside to sit with Casemiro on the base of the midfield when the Selecao had possession.

A 3-2-3-2 or 3-2-1-4, relying on how beneficiant you’re when deciphering Neymar’s motion between the strains. The 4 forwards parked themselves throughout the Croatia penalty space, with Lucas Paqueta an remoted yellow flash between the strains. It meant Richarlison’s affect was heightened and vital to join with Neymar and the extensive gamers. Croatia’s plan appeared to depend on limiting Vini Jr’s explosive motion off his first contact with Richarlison in a position to publish up on Dejan Lovren, who couldn’t wriggle across the facet of him. But regardless of an immaculate return ball, the Real Madrid star’s end was blocked. It was a uncommon opening amid resolute Croatia defending, however the extra expansive facet of the plan was to come.

The masterplan principally relied on Juranovic choosing his moments to enterprise past the selfless Mario Pasalic, with tantalising house behind Danilo with Thiago Silva positioned left of a slim again three.

With many anticipating this to be Luka Modric’s final World Cup match, earlier than extending this well-known final dance, the midfield maestro dropped into the house Juranovic left, gaining a vantage level to assess the pitch and sometimes orchestrating the play from this uncommon space.

Dalic’s hope was to assault down Brazil’s proper flank with pace, however the potential for these bold forrays into the ultimate third trusted simply how far Juranovic dared to go.

Neymar in motion towards Josip Juranovic


The Selecao’s zonal marking with three centre-backs unfold throughout the width of their penalty space ensured Andrej Kramaric and Pasalic might wander throughout the pitch with out Marquinhos or Thiago Silva tempted out of place.

If Croatia have been affected person, possibilities for a monumental upset would emerge. And as Pasalic hugged the touchline within the thirteenth minute after which acquired the ball from a rampaging Juranovic, the Celtic full-back despatched out a warning by penetrating the house between Silva and Marquinhos.

Juranovic ventures ahead with Vini Jr excessive up the pitch and Danilo between midfield and left-back

(BBC Sport)

Juranovic couldn’t get there and Marquinhos failed to spot Ivan Perisic’s belated sprint in direction of the close to publish in time, however the end was all mistaken.

Pass and transfer, drive into the house; Croatia have been prepared to capitalise on Brazil’s overly aggressive formation and thrive in transition.

Brazil remained cussed to their very own gameplan and so Croatia swiftly continued to use the blueprint after the restart. Juranovic continued to dovetail properly with Pasalic after being let loose by the masterful Modric.

Feeding Pasalic on the surface and dragging Brazil throughout the pitch, the change was not fairly exact sufficient to Perisic, who managed and floated a harmful ball in direction of the six-yard field. The ball agonisingly shut to Kramaric after a belated run into the field, one thing seldom seen all through the competition.

Croatia’s gameplan resumes within the second half with Brazil unable to monitor Juranovic from deep

(BBC Sport)

With any gameplan to topple the favourites, a slice of fine fortune is required. Firstly Neymar’s greed contained in the field with Vini Jr free to his proper for the return ball. Although the flag was raised for offside quickly after as panic unfold contained in the Croatia field.

And then a merciless deflection from Rodrygo’s cross off Josip Gvardiol, which landed kindly to Paqueta, who stabbed in direction of aim and compelled Dominik Livakovic into a superb save.

Weary legs, as Croatia entered extra-time as soon as extra, naturally dimmed hopes of an upset, though Bruno Petkovic’s fancy footwork and a cool head to slide the ball proper to Marcelo Brozovic supplied an excellent likelihood. Spurned because the Inter Milan midfielder fired into the stands, the sport quickly exploded. First by Neymar’s chic opener with superb interaction and a ruthless end into the roof of the web.

Croatia’s Bruno Petkovic celebrates scoring


But you merely can’t dismiss this Croatia facet, who’re chilly inside and steadfast of their perception yet one more likelihood will come. And so it did. Petkovic sweeping house with the ball spinning up and previous Alisson after Marquinhos’ deflection.

It was merely a preview to the horror present that may observe, as Marquinhos froze, hitting a publish to guarantee Croatia’s legacy lives on.


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