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Croatia advances past Denmark in dramatic penalty shootout


Danijel Subasic made three saves over 120 minutes.

The Croatian goalkeeper equaled that total in penalties to help his side prevail past Denmark 3-2 in the shootout to move on to the quarterfinals.

Subasic denied Christian Eriksen and Lasse Schone by diving to the right, and he stopped Nicolai Jorgensen with his feet to set the stage for Ivan Rakitic to convert the winning penalty.

Subasic was involved in a goalkeeping showdown with Peter Schmeichel during the shootout, as the Danish netminder made two stops of his own.

The penalty shootout was an unexpected conclusion to the contest that started as fast as any game at the 2018 World Cup.

Denmark lit a fire under the match in the first minute, when Mathias Jorgensen cleaned up a mess off a long throw-in at left post.

Jorgensen’s shot bounced off a few Croatian players and slipped past Danijel Subasic, but the Danish lead wouldn’t last long.

Three minutes later, Mario Mandzukic equalized for Croatia, as he bounced in a shot from the left part of the box that sailed past Kasper Schmeichel.

After the wild first five minutes, the match turned into a stalemate, with few significant chances created by both sides as the dominant midfielders took over.

Croatia had a chance to go through without penalties in the 115th minute, when Luka Modric played a perfect ball to Ante Rebic, who was taken down by Jorgenson in the box.

Modric stepped to the spot, but as he sent his shot to the right, Schmeichel guessed correctly and smothered the the ball within his body.

Croatia made up for Modric’s miss in the shootout, as Subasic turned away three of Denmark’s five penalties.

Croatia faces Russia on Saturday in the quarterfinal round.

Man of the Match

Subasic didn’t do much during regulation and extra time, but he shined when Croatia needed him the most in penalties.

Moment of the Match

Subasic’s final save on Nicolai Jorgensen capped an incredible set of saves by the Croatian netminder, which allowed Rakitic to win the match on the next kick.

Match to Forget

Eriksen didn’t impress against Croatia’s world-class midfielders, and he failed his team at the start of the shootout, as his attempt was turned away by Subasic.


  1. One thing I couldn’t figure out is why, after both goalies were making save after save, nobody tried kicking the ball high. Obviously you can’t do it all the time, but the GK’s were diving for every PK and you wouldn’t have to even kick it hard, just high and keep it in the net.

    • I think there were 20 or 21 penalties attempted yesterday.

      Only Simon Kjaer’s went more than halfway up the net.

      It’s ludicrous, it should be relatively easy for top-class players to guide the ball into the upper 90s.

      But such is the fear of being another Baggio, I guess. Somehow that’s worse than getting saved. I don’t get it. Too many penalties relying solely on the GK guessing wrong (unless it’s De Gea, he stunk the entire tourney…lol).

  2. *Peter* Schmeichel?

    Yes, hopefully this is Croatia’s only stinker. The thought of Russia in the semi-final is disturbing.

  3. After blistering group stage, Croats played their awful game of the tournament today…luck covered them good…

    Any sane person will be cheering them on against the Russian misunderstanding and FIFA in the 1/4 final…

    On their day, Hrvatska are unplayable and a joy to watch…


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