World Cup 2022: 5 takeaways from Match day 15

The round of 16 of the World Cup has so far yielded chalk results, with no upsets like we saw in the group stages. Monday was no different, with 2018 finalist Croatia and perennial favourites Brazil progressing to the quarterfinals at the expense of Japan and South Korea, respectively.

There was that and plenty more to take away from the two matches on the day. Here are 5 takeaways for our OBSERVER ONLINE readers.

Japan's midfielder #14 Junya Ito fights for the header with Croatia's midfielder #04 Ivan Perisic (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022.Ina Fassbender / AFP
1.Knockout stages get first penalty shootout

Croatia dug deep to beat Japan on penalties in the round of 16's most evenly-matched game amid relatively lopsided victories for the likes of France, England, Netherlands and Brazil. The two teams were inseparable after 120 minutes but the Croatians prevailed as they demonstrated stronger nerves.

Japan's players stand together at the start of the penalty shootout during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022.Ina Fassbender / AFP
2. Japan's rise

After beating 2010 world champions Spain and four-time world champions Germany, and holding 2018 finalists Croatia for 120 minutes before losing on penalties, Japan showed at this tournament that they are an emerging power in football. Against this background, one would find it hard to believe that Japan made their debut at the 1998 World Cup along with Jamaica, and even lost to the Reggae Boyz.

Croatia's goalkeeper #01 Dominik Livakovic saves the second penalty shoot-out by Japan's forward #09 Kaoru Mitoma (not pictured) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022.Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
3.'Big' keeper Livakovic

Dominik Livakovic was the hero for Croatia as he saved three penalties. The Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper, who stands at 6 ft 2 inches, stood tall when he was required and came up big for his country.

South Korean players look dejected after they lost the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha on December 5, 2022.MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP
4.Asians bow out

South Korea and Japan were eliminated today after being beaten by Brazil and Croatia respectively. However, both nations can hold their heads high as they represented Asian football well, playing electric football and providing unforgettable moments.

Diwani Masters and Athena Clarke , Online Reporters

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