Croatia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals by beating Denmark 3-2 in a penalty shootout Sunday. It was the second match of the day in which every penalty shot was on target, and the first time ever that goalkeepers combined to save half the shots in a World Cup shootout.
Here’s a look at how the shootout unfolded at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium:
Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic got the first of his record-tying three shootout saves by diving to his right and deflecting Christian Eriksen’s waist-high shot onto the post.
Minutes after stopping Luka Modric from the penalty spot in the dying moments of extra time to preserve the 1-1 tie, Kasper Schmeichel went to his right to save Milan Badelj’s low shot with his legs.
Captain Simon Kjaer put Denmark ahead with a powerful shot into the roof of the net to Subasic’s left.
Andrej Kramaric pulled it even again for Croatia with a hesitation that forced Schmeichel to commit to his left, opening space for an easy shot to the other side of the goal.
Michael Krohn-Dehli, inserted into the match in extra time one minute after Kramaric, executed a virtually identical spot kick to put the Danes in front again.
Palpable tension as Modric stepped to the spot again to challenge Schmeichel, who feinted from side to side as he and everyone else waited to see if the Croatian captain would fire to the ’keeper’s left again or change tactics. Schmeichel went to his left, Modric knocked it low and down the middle, and it was tied again.
Second-half sub Lasse Schone sent his thigh-high shot not nearly wide enough of Subasic, who dived right and got both hands on it for his second save. Advantage Croatia.
Josep Pivaric started deep and to the left of the penalty spot, shuffled wide to the right of it and wound up for a big left-footed shot to Schmeichel’s right. Refusing to be outdone by his counterpart, the Danish ’keeper lunged and blocked it with his right arm.
Subasic one-upped Schmeichel a final time, diving to his left but knocking away Nicolai Jorgensen’s shot down the middle with his trailing leg.
With a spot in the quarterfinals on the line, midfielder Ivan Rakitic stepped to the spot, got Schmeichel to lean to his left and blasted it the other way to send Croatia through.
More AP World Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
Source: Associated Press