JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Croatia advance to quarter-finals after penalty shootout

Croatia advance to quarter-finals after penalty shootout

Monday, July 02, 2018, 04:57 GMT+7

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, July 1 - 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.

They could have wrapped up the result five minutes from the end of extra time but Luka Modric had his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel as a largely pedestrian match produced a pulsating finish.

However, the Croatia captain returned to bravely take one of the post-match kicks as goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three of Denmark's efforts to set up a quarter-final meeting with hosts Russia, who also won in a penalty shootout earlier on Sunday against Spain after a 1-1 draw.

It was Modric's sublime pass that put Ante Rebic through on goal, before being brought down by Mathias Jorgensen, and offered Croatia a chance to win just before the shootout.

But with only five minutes left, Schmeichel made a smart save to keep the 1-1 stalemate intact.

"It was a very difficult game. We conceded in the first minute, then we equalised. We missed a sitter. We miss penalties. We had chances but we stayed strong, mentally composed, and we won eventually," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

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.

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.

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 asDenmark's early advantage quickly disappeared.

Pinball

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.

The anticipated influence of Christian Eriksen for the Danes and Croatia's Modric held out hopes of more mouth-watering action but their craft was only evident in patches.

Eriksen did shave the top of the woodwork just before halftime with a speculative effort while, at the other end, Ivan Rakitic forced a smart save from Schmeichel.

After the interval, the chances were even more sparse although Croatia did up the tempo towards the end of regulation time only to run into a resolute Denmark defence.

In extra time, Knudsen's long throws proved the most dangerous attacking weapon but eventually it was penalties that delivered a winner.

"It's a strange feeling. Huge disappointment. But also enormous pride about our team," said Schmeichel.

"I think today we had the opportunity. I think we were the better team in the second half and the extra time.

"I don't think we had any luck. I don't think the referee liked us today. It is difficult to accept and put into words. There are many emotions right now."

Reuters

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news