Japan Loses to Croatia in Qatar World Cup, Fails to Make Last 8

Sports

Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 5 (Jiji Press)--Japan lost to Croatia in a penalty shootout in the first round of the FIFA World Cup knockout stage in Al Wakrah, Qatar, on Monday, failing to make the last eight.

Japan opened the scoring through Daizen Maeda in the first half of the game but was caught up in the second half. After tying in overtime, Croatia defeated Japan 3-1 in the shootout, stopping Japan from reaching World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in its fourth attempt in the knockout stage.

The Samurai Blue had stunned the world by pulling off historic victories over Spain and Germany, both former World Cup champions, in Group E matches. It reached the knockout stage for the second consecutive tournament for the first time.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said that his team has demonstrated that Japan "can defeat past World Cup champions," such as Germany and Spain.

The Qatar World Cup was a tournament to "show my gratitude to supporters," said Maeda.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press