Japan crashed out of the World Cup in the last 16, after a dreadful set of penalties in a shootout against Croatia, in Qatar.
In the group stages, Japan caused two of the greatest World Cup shocks as they had to beat both Germany and Spain to go through, also incredibly losing to Costa Rica.
The win over Luis Enrique’s side knocked Germany out of the tournament and earned them a game against Croatia, in the first knockout stage.
The beaten finalists from 2018 were actually lucky to get through, after Romelu Lukaku’s four misses in the second half sent Belgium home instead.
Ideally, Hajime Moriyasu’s knew his team would need to start early in their last 16 game with Croatia, with Luka Modric and his fellow countrymen known for their comebacks.
Japan took the lead in the 43rd minute, through Daizen Maeda but, as they often do, the Europeans brought it back level in the 55th minute, through Ivan Perisic.
They had one extra time and two penalty shootout wins in their run to the final four and a half years ago, and once again it went all the way.
However, this wasn’t about Croatia’s expertise from 12 yards out and was more about the Asian side’s inability to convert from the spot.
Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida all had their efforts saved, but none of them made goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic work hard at all, with only Takuma Asano scoring.