Croatia beat Denmark in penalty shootout
Croatia came back after conceding in the opening minute to earn a World Cup quarter-final berth after edging Denmark 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the two sides drew 1-1 in the round of 16 match on Sunday (July 1).
Two chaotic goals in the opening four minutes made for a rollicking start at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. However, it proved a false dawn as the spectacle faded with both sides choosing caution as their priority given the rare chance to reach the last eight at a World Cup.
Jorgensen took all of 57 seconds to breach the Croatia defence at the end of a long throw-in by Jonas Knudsen, stabbing at the ball with his left foot as he took it off team mate Thomas Delaney.
Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic got a hand to Jorgensen’s toe-poke but effectively deflected the ball across his own line.
There was an element of comedy to the fourth-minute equaliser for Mario Mandzukic as Denmark’s early advantage quickly disappeared.
A kick across the Danish defence was firmly hit away by Henrik Dalsgaard but straight into the face of team mate Andreas Christensen, creating a pinball effect that saw the ball fall for Mandzukic, who then expertly turned it into the net from close range.
Modric’s sublime pass that put Ante Rebic through on goal five minutes before the end of normal time before being brought down by Mathias Jorgensen, and offered Croatia a chance to win just before the lottery of the shootout. But Schmeichel made a smart save from Modric’s spot kick to keep the 1-1 stalemate intact through two hours of at times pedestrian football.
However, the Croatia captain returned to bravely take one of the post-match kicks as goalkeeper Danijel Subasic save three of Denmark’s efforts to set up a quarter-final meeting with Russia on Saturday.