Livakovic saved three penalties in the round of 16 and one in the quarterfinals.He has been Croatia’s first-choice goalkeeper since 2019.
Dominik Livakovic has made eight saves against Brazil so far; already the most by a Croatia goalkeeper in a #FIFAWorldCup match.
Dominik Livakovic has saved four penalties during World Cup penalty shoot-outs, the joint-most of any goalkeeper in the tournament’s history.
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic has caused quite a stir at this FIFA World Cup, announcing himself with heroics in the penalty shoot-outs that took Croatia past Japan in the last 16 and Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Even before the game went to spot-kicks, Livakovic had been Croatia’s key player against the pre-tournament favourites, denying their attackers time after time. The 27-year-old plays his club football for Dinamo Zagreb, for whom he has already become known as something of a penalty-saving specialist.
His debut for Croatia came in a friendly against Chile in early 2017 and he was included in the squad for Russia 2018, but did not feature as the Vatreni made it all the way to the final. A competitive bow followed a few months later, along with a clean sheet in a goalless draw with England, and Livakovic has been established as the team’s first-choice keeper since mid-2019.
He remained, however, a little-known figure until Qatar 2022 and that round of 16 meeting with Japan. Saving all three of the Asian side’s penalties in the shoot-out was quite a feat, and it was no wonder that he was rewarded with the Player of the Match in the wake of it.
“I don’t know what to say,” Livakovic said .“My whole life in football flashed before my eyes before the first penalty, emotions that I’ll definitely never forget. The only thing I can say is that I’m glad that I’ve made the Croatian people happy this evening.”
Perisic and Modric have been full of praise.Team-mates insisted there was no surprise that Livakovic emerged as Croatia’s latest World Cup hero. “If you’ve got a great goalkeeper it makes everything much easier. I’m really proud of him, he deserves this because he’s a hard-working guy and I hope he can carry on like this.”
He did, of course, producing a performance against Brazil that was arguably even better, denying the likes of Neymar and Casemiro in open play before coming up big in the shoot-out again to keep out Rodrygo.
In proving a worthy successor to 2018 hero Danijel Subasic, he has also maintained Croatia’s remarkable record of prevailing in all four World Cup shoot-outs in which they have been involved.