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A day of epic goalkeeping: Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties; FT

Denmark's best-ever showing was at the 1998 World Cup in France, where it reached the quarterfinals

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A day of epic goalkeeping: Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties

Full time: A roller-coaster of a match — an epic start, lull and mundane match till 90 minutes, an epic penalty miss in the dying moments of the extra time by Modric and finally an epic goalkeeping showdown to give Croatia a place in quarterfinals. Danijel Subasic has become only the second goalkeeper in the history of World cup to make three saves in the penalty shootout. On the other hand, Schmeichel too saved a crucial penalty in the dying moments of the extra time when Modric couldn't get the ball past him. Two goals were scored within 5 minutes of the beginning of the game, giving hope for a good entertaining match. After that, no goal was scored for 115 minutes. That match went to penalty shootout where Croatia beat Denmark 3-2. Croatia will now face Russia in the quarterfinal on Saturday.


Extra time ends goal-less as Modric misses the penalty. Here is the penalty shootout.

90 minutes:Attempts fail as the match heads into extra time.

Denmark and Croatia have been creating chances to score but have only failed. Both teams have been failing to convert half chances and shots on goal have been way too wide. Tactical change is required.

A day of epic goalkeeping: Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties

Half-time summary: It was like Croatia and Denmark started their match from where Russia and Spain ended theirs. Spain lost the goal-fest to Russia in a penalty shootout and taking inspiration, Denmark and Croatia scored a goal each inside first five minutes of the play. Barely had the match begun, the Danish scored, throwing every person in the stadium in awe and shock. It seemed that they were on a mission. But the Croatians were in no mood to let Denmark enjoy the unprecedented lead for very long as they too found the net soon after. The struggle for ball possession and shots on goals became the regular feature. Heart-stopping moments for both the teams came and went but none could take the lead. At half-time, the score was one goal each.

The second of the three all-European ties in the Round of 16 at Russia 2018 is happening for the first time. In their five previous meetings in friendlies and qualifiers, both sides have won two and drawn one.

The Vatreni have been one of the sensations of the tournament to date. Victorious in all three of their group games, they are the fourth highest-scoring side in the competition and have played some vibrant football at times, not least in the heavy defeat of Argentina. Expectations are running so high, in fact, that Luka Modric and Co are fancied to equal or even better the third place Croatia achieved at France 1998.

Squad for match

Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic, Rakitic, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic.

Subs: Livakovic, Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric, Lovre Kalinic.

Denmark: Schmeichel, Knudsen, Kjaer, Mathias Zanka Jorgensen, Dalsgaard, Christensen, Delaney, Eriksen, Poulsen, Cornelius, Braithwaite.

Subs: Lossl, Krohn-Dehli, Vestergaard, Kvist, Nicolai Jorgensen, Dolberg, Fischer, Larsen, Lerager, Schone, Sisto, Ronnow.

Referee: Nestor Pitana (Argentina)

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Denmark also have happy memories of that World Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals, the nation’s best ever performance. Though the Scandinavians will not start as favourites, they have shown an ability to make the absolute most of the few chances that come their way. Their tally of two goals is the lowest of the 16 teams left in the competition, while only three sides of the 32 that started Russia 2018 had fewer shots on goal in the group phase. They remain unbeaten, however, and are determined to cause an upset.

Remarks from coach

Denmark coach Age Hareide acknowledged that his players are writing their names in the history of their national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but said they are focused on advancing as far as possible.

Hareide made his remarks at a press conference ahead of Sunday's last-16 match against Croatia, reports Efe.

Denmark's best-ever showing was at the 1998 World Cup in France, where it reached the quarterfinals.

Hareide pointed out that Croatia is a team that can defend and attack well with a flexible group of players who are able to adapt to different situations.

Denmark's coach also said the two teams have similar playing styles, but stressed that he has confidence in his squad to deal with the match.

He also said he has studied the way Croatian players shoot penalties when playing with their teams, in case the match goes to a penalty shootout.

Denmark defender Simon Kjaer said on Saturday that Croatia respects his national team, which has had a strong 12-game unbeaten run in official matches, ahead of their last-16 duel in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Denmark, which is set to take on Croatia Sunday, suffered its last defeat against Montenegro in 2016 in the World Cup qualifiers.

"Since going down 1-0 to Montenegro, we have not lost, and I think we have built something good since then. I also think that Croatia is aware, so there is no doubt that it respects us," Kjaer said at a press conference.

He also praised his fellow goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel for his role with the Danish team.

"He's had a great impact on us, both on and off the field. Kasper is a great goalkeeper and I'm not surprised by his great level," Kjaer said.

The defender added that he is very proud to captain his national team in the World Cup, and hopes Denmark can go as far as possible in the tournament.

Croatia World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco/FRA), Lovre Kalinic (Gent/BEL), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas/TUR), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria/ITA), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool/ENG), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Josip Pivaric (Dinamo Kiev/UKR), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Matej Mitrovic (Club Brugge/BEL), Duje Caleta-Car (Salzburg/AUT)

ALSO READ: Croatia World Cup Squad: Luka Modric leads team chances in 'group of death'

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/ESP), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona/ESP), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid/ESP), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina/ITA), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan/ITA), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus/ITA), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan/ITA), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan/ITA), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim/GER), Marko Pjaca (Schalke/GER), Ante Rebic (Eintracht/GER).

Denmark World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield), Frederik Ronow (Brondby), Jesper Hansen (FC Midtjylland)

Defenders: Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Andreas Bjelland (Brentford), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Peter Ankersen (FC Copenhagen), Jens Stryger (Udinese), Riza Durmisi (Real Betis), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich), Nicolai Boilesen (FC Copenhagen)

ALSO READ: Fifa World Cup 2018: Denmark's success depends on Eriksen's dynamite effect

Midfielders: William Kvist (FC Copenhagen), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Mike Jensen (Rosenborg), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Daniel Wass (Celta Vigo), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton), Mathias Jensen (FC Nordsjaelland), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo La Coruna), Robert Skov (FC Copenhagen)

Forwards: Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Martin Braithwaite (Bordeaux), Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Viktor Fischer (FC Copenhagen), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Nicklas Bendtner (Rosenborg), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff)

First Published: Sun, July 01 2018. 17:38 IST