Dramatic from start to finish as Croatia end Denmark's cup in shootout
CROATIA 1 (Mandzukic 4’)
DENMARK 1 (M. Jorgensen 1’)
CROATIA WON 3-2 ON PENALTIES
By Charlie Johns
Croatia is through to the quarter-finals with a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Denmark after its keeper Danijel Subasic equalled a World Cup record by saving three spot kicks in the one match.
The match also set a World Cup record when Mario Mandzukic’s equaliser for Croatia meant both sides had put the ball in the back of the net after just three minutes and 39 seconds.
Croatia will play Russia in the final eight after the host nation caused a major upset in beating Spain, also in a penalty shootout.
Incredible. Simply incredible.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 1, 2018
It was a tight game from beginning to end which got off to the fastest and craziest of starts.
Croatia was left stunned as Denmark struck the first blow after just 58 seconds.
A long throw-in by Jonas Knudsen sailed into the Croatian penalty area and fell to Mathias Jorgensen who poked the ball under Subasic to give the underdogs the perfect start.
But Danish celebrations were short-lived when they failed to clear the ball as it ricocheted around the penalty area and it fell to Mandzukic who hooked the ball in from close range.
After the hectic start the Croatians began to control the game although the few chances they created were repelled by man-of-the-match Kasper Schmeichel.
Denmark started to control the weight of possession as the second half wore on but neither side was able to find the decisive winner within 90 minutes.
The match went to extra-time and just as a penalty shootout seemed inevitable, Ante Rebic was through on-goal after rounding Schmeichel but was brought down in the box by Jorgensen.
The referee pointed to the spot and Modric could have ended it right there with just four minutes left of extra-time but Schmeichel once again was his side’s saviour with a diving save to his left.
The shootout produced more heroics from both keepers with two saves each in the first four spot kicks.
But Subasic again gave the Croatians the upper hand when he blocked Nicolai Jorgensen’s effort with his legs and then Ivan Rakitic sealed the match with a calmly-taken penalty that sent Schmeichel the wrong way.
Croatia: 23 Subasic (GK), 2 Vrsaljko, 3 Strinic (81’), 4 Perisic (97’), 6 Lovren, 7 Rakitic, 10 Modric (c), 11 Brozovic (71’), 17 Mandzukic (108’), 18 Rebic, 21 Vida
Substitutions: 1 Livakovic, 5 Corluka, 8 Kovacic (71’), 9 Kramaric (97’), 12 Kalinic, 13 Jedvaj, 14 Bradaric, 15 Caleta-car, 19 Badelj (108’), 20 Pjaca, 22 Pivaric (81’), 16 N. Kalinic
Denmark: 1 Schmeichel (GK), 4 Kjaer (c), 5 Knudsen, 6 Christensen (46’), 8 Delaney (98’), 10 Eriksen, 11 Braithwaite (105’), 13 M. Jorgensen, 14 Dalsgaard, 20 Yurary, 21 Cornelius (66’)
Substitutions: 2 Krohn-dehli (98’), 3 Vestergaard, 7 Kvist, 9 N. Jorgensen (66’), 12 Dolberg, 15 Fischer, 16 Lossl, 17 Stryger, 18 Lerager, 19 Schone (46’), 22 Ronnow, 23 Sisto (105’)