NIZHNY NOVGOROD — Croatia has defeated Denmark 3-2 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Sunday and advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals.
Croatia will face hosts Russia looking to reach the semifinals for the first time 20 years after finishing third in the 1998 France World Cup.
Croatia will play Russia on July 7, as the hosts eliminated Spain on penalties earlier in Moscow.
Goalkeepers from both sides performed outstandingly, with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving three penalties and Leceister City’s Kasper Schmeichel stopping two watched by his father and former Denmark and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.
Ivan Rakitic ultimately scored the winning penalty and sent Croatia through after the two sides were deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes.
Denmark went ahead in the first minute when Jonas Knudsen hurled a long pass from the right into the box. Mathias Jorgensen squeezed off a shot which was fumbled by Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in off the base of the left post.
Croatia, only after three minutes, managed to level the score. Denmark failed to make a clearance of a cross from the right and Mario Mandzukic swept the ball into the net.
Age Hareide, Denmark coach, told reporters after the game that his team played better during the regular time, epically second half.