Croatia's players celebrate after beating Brazil on penalties to reach the World Cup semi-finals ©Getty Images

Croatia and Argentina claimed dramatic penalty shootout wins over Brazil and the Netherlands respectively as the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 got underway in Qatar.

Despite being runners-up in 2018 Croatia started their last-eight encounter against five-time winners Brazil as underdogs at the Education City Stadium.

After a goalless ninety minutes, Brazil took the lead deep in the first period of added time when after exchanging passes with Rodrygo and Lucas Paqueta, Neymar slammed a shot into the net, in the process equalling Pele’s national team scoring record of 77 goals.

Despite not managing a shot on target in 117 minutes, Croatia struck with Bruno Petkovic silencing Brazilian fans with a strike from inside the box that deflected into the net to make it 1-1.

That took the contest to spot-kicks with Dominic Livakovic proving the hero for Croatia, saving from Rodrygo from the first penalty to put the 2018 runners-up in front in the shootout.

After four successful kicks, Croatia’s place in the last four was confirmed when Marquinhos missed his penalty, striking the post, as another upset was sprung in this tournament of shocks.

Croatia will face more South American opposition in the semi-finals as Argentina advanced past the Netherlands in a thrilling encounter at the Lusail Stadium, also courtesy of spot-kicks.

Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez proved to be his side's hero as they beat the Netherlands on penalties ©Getty Images
Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez proved to be his side's hero as they beat the Netherlands on penalties ©Getty Images

Argentina took the lead in the 35th minute courtesy of a strike from Nahuel Molina, and doubled their advantage with less than 20 minutes to go courtesy of a penalty from Lionel Messi.

Messi’s tenth goal at a World Cup looked like it would be enough for the 1978 and 1986 winners, but the Dutch had other ideas courtesy of substitute Wout Weghorst.

Weghorst headed home a cross from fellow substitute Steven Berghuis with seven minutes of normal time remaining to give the Netherlands hope.

Weghorst then levelled the tie in dramatic fashion as from a free-kick, awarded in the 100th minute, he finished from inside the box after what appeared a routine practised on the training ground to make it 2-2.

Enzo Fernandez hit the post for Argentina in extra-time but once again penalties were required.

This time Argentine keeper Emiliano Martinez made himself the hero, saving from both Berghuis and Virgil van Dijk.

Lauro Martinez blasted home the decisive penalty to secure Argentina a semi-final with Croatia at the same venue on Tuesday (December 13).

The quarter-finals are due to conclude tomorrow with Portugal taking on Morocco before holders France face England.