After Brazil’s 4-1 destruction of South Korea in the Round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup, many expected their quarterfinal contest with Croatia to be similarly full of goals.
Yet the Selecao didn’t have it all their own way at Education City Stadium on Friday. Croatia showed that trademark resilience that made them World Cup finalists back in 2018 and took the match to extra time. Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, two of the more well known stars of the Croatian team, were integral once again in midfield.
The European nation actually dominated long periods in the first half, but were heavily reliant on goalkeeper Dominik Livaković to keep Brazil at bay in the second half. They had eight shots but none of them found their way past the Croatian No.1 — described as “the man of the game” by UK pundit Micah Richards afterwards.
The Sporting News provides some background here on an unexpected star of the World Cup knockout stages.
Who is Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic?
The 27-year-old Livakovic is a goalkeeper for Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb. He came through the academy at rival side, the amateur outfit NK Zagreb, before making his senior debut in 2012.
In 2015 he sealed a move to the bigger side, 23-time Croatian league title winners (and current reigning champions) Dinamo. He’s named Manchester United’s David de Gea and Spanish icon Iker Casillas among his goalkeeping idols.
Where does Croatia goalkeeper Livakovic play?
Dinamo Zagreb retain Livakovic’s services and the goalkeeper has never played outside of his home nation.
He has picked up 38 caps for his national team, though, making his debut in 2017. He and Dinamo Zagreb might find that, after the World Cup in Qatar, the ‘keeper receives some transfer interest.
He made more saves in the 90 minutes against Brazil — that ended 0-0 — than opposite number Alisson had in the entire tournament to that point.
Livakovic fez mais defesas contra o Brasil (8) do que Alisson em TODA a Copa do Mundo (5) 🤯 pic.twitter.com/7HZJswvMwR
— Curiosidades Brasil (@CuriosidadesBRL) December 9, 2022
MORE: World Cup quarterfinal predictions: Who will win semifinal berths in Qatar?
Livakovic contract, transfer fee
His current contract expires in June 2024 and his current transfer value, as per Transfermarkt is €8.50m — although it will no doubt increase after the World Cup, especially if he wins the Golden Glove award presented to the tournament’s top goalkeeper.
He’s been linked with a potential move to Turkish club Fenerbahce in the past, but could attract Premier League or top European league interest in the future after a display like the one versus Brazil.
Livakovic penalty record
A viral video has been doing the rounds of Croatia legend and veteran Luka Modric giving the goalkeeper a pep talk — which clearly worked as he denied Japan from spot-kicks to seal a spot in the quarterfinals.
Modric’s hype for Livakovic is real 🙌
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 5, 2022
Going into the World Cup, Livakovic had saved 14 of 54 penalties faced in his career. And he added to that impressive record with a hat-trick of saves in the shootout against Japan, after the game had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.