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Today at the World Cup: Brazil power into quarters and Croatia win shoot-out

Neymar celebrates scoring Brazil’s second goal against South Korea (Peter Byrne/PA)
Neymar celebrates scoring Brazil’s second goal against South Korea (Peter Byrne/PA)

Fit-again Neymar was among the scorers as Brazil powered into the World Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 thumping of South Korea that saw all their goals come in the first half.

Their opponents in the last eight will be Croatia, who earlier defeated Japan 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, with Dominik Livakovic saving three times in the shoot-out.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the third day of last-16 action in Qatar unfolded.

Ruthless Brazil

Neymar scores a penalty in Brazil's win against South Korea (Mike Egerton/PA).
Neymar converted a 13th-minute penalty (Mike Egerton/PA)

Brazil’s first-half blitz at Stadium 974 started with a seventh-minute Vinicius Junior strike, with Neymar, back after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, then adding a penalty six minutes later to move one goal behind the team’s all-time top-scorer Pele.

Further efforts followed from Richarlison (29), rounding off a brilliant team move, and Lucas Paqueta (36), a superb volley, as Tite’s side all but wrapped things up prior to the interval.

Paik Seung-ho pulled a consolation goal back for South Korea with 14 minutes of normal time remaining.

Livakovic the hero for Croatia

In Monday’s earlier contest at Al Janoub Stadium, 2018 runners-up Croatia fell behind courtesy of Daizen Maeda’s 43rd-minute finish, before equalising through an Ivan Perisic header 10 minutes into the second half.

In the shoot-out that then followed, Livakovic kept out tame efforts from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida as Japan, who have never reached the World Cup quarter-finals, were unable to add another scalp after their stunning victories over Germany and Spain in the group stage.

Zlatko Dalic’s men will face Brazil on Friday at Education City Stadium.

Santos unhappy with Ronaldo reaction

Cristiano Ronaldo after being substituted during Portugal's loss to South Korea (Mike Egerton/PA).
Cristiano Ronaldo after being substituted during Portugal’s loss to South Korea (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ahead of Tuesday’s last-16 clash with Switzerland, Portugal boss Fernando Santos has revealed he was not happy with Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction after being substituted in their final World Cup group game.

Ronaldo appeared angry after being withdrawn 25 minutes from the end of Friday’s 2-1 loss to South Korea – the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward later said his frustration was aimed at an opposing player rather than Santos for taking him off.

Santos said at his pre-match press conference on Monday that he “really did not like it”, and while he added that “we fixed it in-house”, he did not confirm if Ronaldo would captain the side against the Swiss.

Penalty practice for Spain

Spain manager Luis Enrique (Nick Potts/PA).
Spain manager Luis Enrique (Nick Potts/PA)

The winners of that game will face the victors from Tuesday’s contest between Morocco and Spain.

And in his pre-match press conference, Spain boss Luis Enrique said he had told his players over a year ago they needed to practise taking at least 1,000 penalties with their clubs in preparation for possible shoot-outs in Qatar.

Enrique said: “I don’t think it’s a lottery, it doesn’t just depend on luck. It’s the moment of the highest pressure, you have to show skill and take the penalty. Obviously you cannot train the pressure and the tension, but it’s manageable, you can cope with that pressure and those key moments say a lot about a player. It doesn’t really depend on luck.”

Saka happy to step up

Bukayo Saka during an England press conference on Monday (Martin Rickett/PA).
Bukayo Saka during an England press conference on Monday (Martin Rickett/PA)

England’s Bukayo Saka has also been talking about penalties in the build-up to Saturday’s quarter-final clash with France, emphasising his readiness to take one if required.

The 21-year-old Arsenal forward, who missed the decisive spot-kick as England lost the Euros final to Italy in a shoot-out last summer and suffered horrific online racist abuse in the aftermath, said: “I have matured and progressed a lot as a player and as a person since that moment.

“I would not have stepped up the times I have stepped up for Arsenal to take a penalty if I wasn’t confident, so if the moment comes and I am selected to take a penalty, I am more than happy to.”

Picture of the day

Brazil with a Pele banner following the win over South Korea (Martin Rickett/PA).
Brazil with a Pele banner following the win over South Korea – the three-time World Cup winner was admitted to hospital last week (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tweet of the day

Who’s up next?

World Cup route
(PA graphic)

Last 16
Morocco v Spain (1500GMT, ITV1)
Portugal v Switzerland (1900GMT, ITV1)