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World Cup: Tournament favourites Brazil beaten on penalties by Croatia

Tournament favourites Brazil are out of the World Cup in Qatar after losing 4-2 on penalties to Croatia at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

A Selecao went into the game as the overwhelming favourites after their 4-1 success over South Korea in the Round of 16, while Croatia sneaked into the last eight on penalties after beating Japan.

Zlatko Dalic's side used that experience to succeed again on penalties, and the 2018 finalists are now through to the final four, while Brazil's squad will wonder what could have been in Qatar.

History repeats itself for Croatia

Even though Croatia reached the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they were outsiders for the competition ahead of Friday's quarter-final against Brazil.

Dalic's men looked lacklustre during their 1-1 draw against Japan, but they prevailed on penalties to advance.

Croatia made life difficult for Brazil throughout the 90 minutes, and neither side did enough to secure the win, but Neymar produced a moment of magic to fire his team level in extra-time. The Paris Saint-Germain ace worked a one-two with Lucas Paqueta before rounding Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to score.

With just minutes remaining, Bruno Petkovic latched onto Mislav Orsic's cross, and his left-footed strike deflected off Marquinhos before finding the bottom corner.

That goal, as expected, galvanized Croatia, and they went into the penalty shootout with no fear. Nikola Vlasic opened the scoring from the spot before Brazil forward Rodrygo saw his effort saved by Livakovic. Lovro Majer, Luka Modric and Orsic all converted, and that was enough for victory as Marquinhos hit the post with Brazil's fourth spotkick after goals from Pedro and Casmeiro.

They have now won all four penalty shootouts that they have been involved in at the World Cup, and they are now 8/1 to Win The Tournament.

Lessons to be learned for Tite and his squad

Brazil were named favourites for the tournament before a ball was kicked in Qatar, and while they topped Group G, they did not produce their best football until the Round of 16.

The South American giants just did enough to finish ahead of Switzerland on goal difference, but their performance against South Korea put the rest of the World Cup on notice.

Sadly for Tite, his team never showed any signs that they were a class above Croatia, and for all their star quality, they struggled to dominate proceedings.

Vinicius Jnr came closest to scoring inside the first 90 minutes, but for the majority of the match, Brazil's flair players were too quiet.

While Brazil sent out a statement earlier in the tournament, it is now Croatia that have proven they will be a match for every single team remaining.

Dalic's side led by the majestic Modric, never showed any signs of quitting, and they will fancy their chances of reaching a second successive final.

Croatia are 9/4 to Reach The Final, and they will play the winner of the Netherlands' clash with Argentina in the last four.

Neymar makes history on a night to forget

As Brazil's poster boy, Neymar was under pressure to guide his team to victory in the quarter-finals. For the majority of Friday's clash against Croatia, he was marked out of the game, and when he did get the ball, he was far too wasteful in possession.

However, when it mattered, Neymar came up with the goods to give his team every chance of victory; sadly, his strike was in vain.

However, Neymar's brilliantly-taken goal will be played over and over again as he made history at the Education City Stadium. The PSG ace equalled Pele's "official" goalscoring record of 77 for the men's national team.

After 124 appearances for his country, Neymar has now equalled the record of Brazil's best-ever player, but unlike Pele, he has yet to win a World Cup.

Pele won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, but Neymar may now only get one more chance to win the tournament.

He will be 34 by the time the next World Cup starts, and he will now watch on from home while France, who are 11/4 to Win The Tournament, try to defend their crown.

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