05.12.2022 21:05 h

Livakovic continuing Croatian tradition

Dominik Livakovic said that he was continuing a Croatian tradition after his penalty shoot-out heroics against Japan on Monday put his country into the World Cup quarter-finals.

Goalkeeper Livakovic saved three of Japan's four penalties after a 1-1 draw to end the Blue Samurai's adventure in Qatar and set up a last-eight clash with either Brazil or South Korea.

Croatia won twice on penalties during their run to the 2018 final and prevailed again at Al Janoub Stadium.

"I continued the tradition of my predecessor (Danijel Subasic). I think it is more instinct than any analysis of the takers you have in front of you," he told reporters.

"I don't think they were difficult penalties to save, they weren't perfect penalties, and thank God for that."

He added: "It's a great feeling... Thank God all ended well... This is the most cherished moment in my career."

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu praised Livakovic for his display, choosing to focus on the saves rather than the poor penalties taken by Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida.

"I don't think we succumbed to the pressure, I think the goalkeeper was great," he said.

"Japan's players played 120 minutes bravely and the players who took penalty kicks were also courageous.

"Of course we wanted to win and the result is very unfortunate but... it does not negate the effort of the players. They should be confident they can play on world stage. They showed how good they can play in the World Cup."