Josip Juranovic explains why he consoled Celtic team-mate Daizen Maeda after Croatia’s penalty shoot-out win over Japan

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Maeda scored his first-ever World Cup goal for the Blue Samurai but it wasn’t enough to prevent his nation from crashing out.

Josip Juranovic reached out to his distraught Celtic team-mate Daizen Maeda after Japan’s heroic World Cup campaign ended in a heartbreaking 3-1 penalty shoot-out defeat to Croatia.

Having defeated European heavyweights Spain and Germany during the group stage, Hoops frontman Maeda scored his first-ever goal at the tournament to keep the Blue Samurai on course for a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

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However, 2018 finalists Croatia responded through Ivan Perisic’s header in the second half to take the match to extra-time and then ultimately penalties.

Croatia's Josip Juranovic consoles Japan forward, and Celtic team-mate, Daizen Maeda after the World Cup last 16 clash. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)Croatia's Josip Juranovic consoles Japan forward, and Celtic team-mate, Daizen Maeda after the World Cup last 16 clash. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Croatia's Josip Juranovic consoles Japan forward, and Celtic team-mate, Daizen Maeda after the World Cup last 16 clash. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan - bidding to become only the third Asian nation to reach the last eight of a World Cup - had three spot-kicks from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida saved by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to bring their fairytale run to an end, leaving Maeda in tears.

A relieved Juranovic, who is first-choice penalty taker at Celtic, confessed he was sixth in line to step up for his country and explained why he immediately sought out Maeda to console his Parkhead colleague after the shootout.

He told the Daily Mail: “Daizen is my friend and I congratulated him because he scored a goal in the World Cup and that is every player’s dream. But I also felt sad for him because he was crying. Football is about sportsmanship and I gave him a little kiss.

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“He is a good friend of mine and he had such a good World Cup with Japan. I feel sad for him, but happy for Croatia. We made history tonight and now I have something I can say to my sons in the future that I did something beautiful.”

The right-back, who will line up against Brazil in their quarter-final clash on Friday, added: “I was the sixth man in the queue. I actually wanted to take one because I take them at Celtic and I wanted to do it in the World Cup. I missed my last one against Real Madrid but that’s football. Sometimes you miss, sometimes you score. I scored seven, I missed one, it happens.

Croatia’s defender Josip Juranovic controls the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match against JapanCroatia’s defender Josip Juranovic controls the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match against Japan
Croatia’s defender Josip Juranovic controls the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match against Japan | AFP via Getty Images

“We have been through extra time and penalties in the World Cup last time in Russia. Maybe we will do the same as they did four years ago by reaching the final. Why not? From the first minute, we didn’t have the possession or the chances we wanted. We didn’t score and they did from one chance, but after that we got the game under control. We have a great mix of old and young players in this squad and we did everything we had to do.”

Rangers defender Borna Barisic was handed his first World Cup start for Croatia after first-choice left-back Borna Sosa suffered an injury, but the 30-year-old endured a difficult afternoon up against the energetic Junya Ita in Qatar and was criticised by BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas.

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He stated during the match: “Barisic has got a big problem. Every time he gets squared up by Ito, he runs at him. Barisic can’t get anywehre near him. Too quick, too sharp. He’s just pushed it by him and gets the ball in the box.”

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