Celts in Qatar: Heartache for Daizen Maeda as Croatia’s goalkeeper becomes the hero in penalty shootout

Well, you just knew somebody would be upset come the end of that one. As Japan took the lead thanks to a wonderfully worked Daizen Maeda goal in the first half, Croatia struck back through Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisic with a bullet header that left the Japanese ‘keeper with no chance.

Croatia were much better in the second 45 minutes and managed to finish the game all square with the country from Asia. Extra-time was needed to try and separate these two after 90 odd minutes of football – the first of the World Cup coincidentally. But even that was not enough to allow either side to get the job done.

And so to penalties it went, with Croatia’s man between the sticks, Dominik Livakovic saving THREE out of the five penalties that the Japanese fired towards his goal net from the 12-yard spot. It was an unbelievable flop from Daizen’s teammates and has cost them dearly as they exit the World Cup in Qatar at the Last-16 stage.

Josip Juranovic and his cohorts will now play Brazil in their Quarter-final as the Samba Stars are currently running amok with South Korea – who boast Hoops target Cho Gue-sung amongst their ranks.

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

1 Comment

  1. Never mind, Daizen! A good goal, and happy memories! In any case you have an important date at Pittodrie a week come Saturday. Maybe Josip will be there as well!