Who is Dominik Livaković: Croatia’s World Cup Goalkeeping Hero?

The FIFA World Cup is famous for producing unlikely heroes. Croatian goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, has been one of the standout performers at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as he pulled off penalty shootout heroics to send his nation into the semifinals.

He was absolutely sensational against tournament favourites, Brazil, in the quarterfinals to follow up his performance versus Japan in the round of 16.

In this article, FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about Croatia’s new national hero.

Dominik Livaković was born on the 9th of January 1995 in Zadar, Croatia.

He started his career at the academy of local side NK Zadar when he was 12 in 2007. He spent 5 years with the side, departing in 2012 to join NK Zagreb.

Livaković became part of NK Zagreb’s first team at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. He started as the club’s 2nd-choice goalkeeper and made his league debut in August 2012.

He soon became the club’s number one and helped them win the Croatian 2nd division league title in 2014.

Livakovic made a total of 104 league appearances for NK Zagreb over 4 seasons — including 90 in the first division.

In August 2015, he joined Croatian giants, Dinamo Zagreb, but was immediately loaned back to NK.

At the beginning of the 2016/17 season, Livakovic returned to Dinamo and made his debut for the club on the 2nd of October 2016 against Hajduk Split.

On the 18th of October 2016, he made his first ever appearance in the UEFA Champions League in a 1-0 defeat to Sevilla.

In July 2019, Livaković broke Dražen Ladić’s 1995 record for most minutes without conceding a goal (413) from the start of a season for Dinamo Zagreb.

In the 2020/21 Europa League group stage, Livaković impressed by conceding only a single goal in 5 matches which helped Dinamo top their group.

In 2022/23, the goalkeeper kept a clean sheet against Chelsea as Dinamo Zagreb picked up a shock 1-0 win in the UEFA Champions League — which got Thomas Tuchel sacked by the Blues.

So far with Dinamo, Livakovic has won 5 consecutive Croatian league titles, 2 Croatian Cups and a Croatian Super Cup.

Furthermore, he has been named in the league’s Team of the Year 7 times — including in the last six seasons.

He has also won the Best Croatian Goalkeeper 4 times and has made 262 appearances for the club.

International career

Dominik Livakovic has been representing Croatia from the U-15 level.

He received his first call-up to the senior team in a friendly against Moldova in 2016 but made his debut against Chile in 2017.

In May 2018, Livaković was named in Croatia’s preliminary 32-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He was eventually part of the team that finished runners-up after losing the final against France.

After disappointing performances by the first choice ‘keeper, Livaković became Croatia’s first-choice goalkeeper for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

2022 World Cup

Livakovic was Croatia’s first-choice goalie at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and helped his country qualify advance past the group stage ahead of Belgium.

Livaković was named Man of the Match in the round of 16 game against Japan, after saving 3 penalties in the shoot-out to help his side reach the quarter-finals.

In doing so, he became the 3rd goalkeeper to make three saves in a World Cup shoot-out — after Ricardo in 2006 and his fellow countryman Danijel Subašić in 2018.

In the quarter-finals against favourites Brazil; the Dinamo Zagreb ‘keeper denied Neymar 4 times, Lucas Paqueta twice; Vinicius and Antony once each to keep his side level in 90 minutes.

But in extra-time, Neymar put Brazil ahead in the 106th minute — to which Croatia responded by equalising through Petkovic in the 116th minute.

Across the 120 minutes, Livakovic incredibly made 11 saves!

During the penalty shootout, he saved another penalty (from Rodrygo) to help Croatia advance to the semi-finals.

It was his 39th match for Croatia.

Furthermore, Livakovic’s performances at the World Cup have caught the eye of many fans and pundits as he continues to impress for his nation.

Croatia will face Argentina in the last four and will be banking on Dominik Livakovic to pull off more heroics.

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