What happened to Brazil against Croatia in quarterfinal?

Brazil, who arrived in Qatar as the biggest favorite to win the World Cup, left the gulf country with a disappointing showing after Croatia knocked the South Americans out in a stunning quarter-final upset on penalties.

They let victory slip through their fingers just before the final whistle, a defeat that certainly will stay in Brazilian memories for long.

Neymar’s spectacular goal in the first part of extra time gave Brazil a 1-0 lead on Friday, but they let their guard down, allowing Croatia to score an equalizer on a counterattack with three minutes left.

Also read: List of FIFA World Cup winners since 1930

It was their fourth defeat in the previous five competitions at the same point, and it was their second straight defeat in a World Cup quarterfinal. On the one occasion they advanced to the semifinal on home soil in 2014, Germany defeated them 7-1.

It is nothing short of a tragedy for a team who came to Qatar as favorites, loaded up front with young talent in addition to icon Neymar.

What was supposed to be redemption for the Paris St Germain forward, however, was instead transformed into his third World Cup nightmare.

Four years later, in Brazil’s quarterfinal victory over Colombia, he suffered a shattered vertebrae and watched from his hospital bed as his teammates suffered the semi-final beating by Germany after being left out by coach Dunga in 2010 for being too young.

His World Cup dream was once more thwarted by injuries in Russia in 2018. Neymar had a sprained right ankle earlier in the year that caused a metatarsal in his foot, and he never fully recovered throughout the competition, playing with pain and out of shape as Brazil was eliminated by Belgium in the quarterfinals.

He suffered a similar injury in Brazil’s opener in Qatar, ruling him out of the next two games, but managed to recover in time for the last 16 match against South Korea, when they looked outstanding in their 4-1 win.

On Friday, he scored a brilliant goal that was securing Brazil’s place in a semi-final against potential opponents and bitter rivals Argentina.

However, a tactical and mental collapse ultimately cost them the victory, as Brazil’s stunned players just gave up in the shootout after conceding the shock of the late equalizer.

After the game on Friday, Neymar admitted he wasn’t sure whether he will play for the national team again.

Brazil will have to wait another four years before attempting to win their first world championship since 2002 and extend their record.

The team may be able to rely on Real Madrid’s young trio of Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Eder Militao and Premier League rising stars Bruno Guimaraes, Antony and Gabriel Martinelli, among others.

Who will succeed Tite as coach is the first thing that needs to be resolved as he is leaving the position after failing to lead Brazil to victory twice in a row.

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