As the tournament nears its conclusion, there have already been two thrilling quarterfinal matches in the 2022 World Cup. Every matchday, ESPN India tries to identify the key event that encapsulated the day’s activity even though there is still a lot going on.
As soon as the ball approaches the halfway point, Bruno Petkovic begins to run. After Nikola Vlasic picked up the pieces of a fight between Casemiro and Luka Modric and carried them forward, they were brought to that location. It’s almost finished at this point in the game’s 116th minute.
Most of the viewing world has already started celebrating Brazil’s win. They had, after all, dominated Croatia for the majority of the 115 minutes that had come before. Neymar Jr. had just scored one of the best goals of this World Cup—or any World Cup—less than ten minutes prior. With that special combination of skill, balance, poise, and pure football acumen, he had sliced through Croatia to give Brazil a lead that was more than earned. Brazil, Neymar, and the rest of the globe all danced. The game was er with a score of 1-0. Surely.
Petkovic hasn’t been informed, though. He is sprinting at full speed, eager to be the target of this counterattack. Petkovic, a huge man at 6’4″ with considerable weight, runs in a manner that is as popular opposite Neymar as it is possible to be: heavy, thundering steps, with the awkward yet compelling bearing of a boulder gaining speed as it rolls downhill.
Petkovic, a 28-year-old Dinamo Zagreb veteran who had entered the game in the 72nd minute, was a running machine. With a remarkably deft twinkle of his boots that left two defenders in his trail, he had earlier produced Croatia’s greatest opportunity, but Marcelo Brozovic had blazed high and wide from his clever squared pass. He and his fellow forwards had run and run, but few opportunities had presented themselves. However, it had not stopped any of them.
Croatia had never really fallen apart, not even when Neymar scored. By all rights, they ought to have, but they hadn’t. Simply said, Zlatko Dalic’s men don’t act that way.
Petkovic can see that Vlasic has shifted the ball to his Dinamo attack partner Mislav Orsic on the left as he runs. Now that he truly wants the ball, he starts to call for it frantically while flailing his arms around like a windmill during a storm.
Here, it’s crucial to pay attention to where Brazil’s defenders are. Their midfield became stuck in Croatia’s attacking third with five minutes remaining and a lead to defend; somehow, collectively, they managed to offer Croatia this opportunity to respond. coming into being.
There was no one at left back at the beginning since Alex Sandro had been hauled in with Vlasic when he began the run off the Modric-Casemiro layoff. All of Danilo, Thiago Silva, and Marquinhos had suddenly been aware of Ante Budimir’s smart dash down the middle. He was already in the box and prepared to square it by the time Danilo rerealizedhe the mistake and began pushing toward shutting down Orsic. At the same time, Budimir had dragged Marquinhos and Silva deep intone the center.
Three against three, However, one of those defenders (Silva) was protecting a potential threat while another (Petkovic) was fully unimpeded.
As Orsic enters the final third, Petkovic immediately realizes where the space is, and Orsic stops flailing his hands and shouting because he knows his partner has spotted him and doesn’t want to draw attention to those who have lost sight of him. He anticipates the pass coming.
The passes almost always come for Croatia. Croatia had a lot of possession at the beginning of this game. Modric, Brozovic, and Mateo Kovacic, their midfield trio, had kept it, and passed it around, but had not done much with it other than an attempt to keep it away from Neymar and company. However, as the game went on, they lost a lot of control, and towards the end, only Croatia’s outstanding defense, under the direction of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, could hold off wave after wave of Brazilian onslaught. Before Neymar pulled off a Neymar, Livakovic had stopped Brazil with nine saves, some of which were genuinely amazing.
Alisson Becker had failed to make any at the opposite end.
Petkovic is aware that this is it. the one great opportunity Orsic squares the ball across the face of the goal without pausing once it enters the box. Petkovic jogs onto the ball as he slows down, neatly enclosing himself in a small bubble of space. Although Casemiro is drawing near, he is still too far away. The first-time strike with Petkovic’s left foot and a nasty deflection off the helplessly stuck Marquinhos cause the ball to drift beyond Alisson’s extended right hand almost imperceptibly.
With only three minutes left, Bruno Petkovic had equalized the score for Croatia with the team’s first attempt at goal. 1-1.
As the yellow-and-blue players sagged around them, they yelled in celebration. Everything had fallen apart, from the elation of Neymar’s brilliance to the intoxicating promise of a World Cup semifinal. They were defeated by Croatia and Petkovic with their only shot. Goliath collapsed, and David grinned.
The subsequent penalty shootout seemed like a routine. Brazil, who was one of the tournament favorites, did not perform as consistently as Croatia. That was how badly Petkovic’s blow had knocked them out.
One of the most well-known American soccer writers, Grant Wahl, passed away early on Saturday while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was 49.
In the press box at Lusail Iconic Stadium, Wahl reportedly fell back in his seat during overtime, and the American journalists sitting next to him reportedly asked for help. The reporters said that emergency personnel arrived extremely fast, and they later learned that Wahl had passed away.
This was Wahl’s eighth World Cup to cover. He mentioned Monday that he had gone to a medical facility while in Qatar.