Final score: Croatia 1-1 (3-2 PKs) Denmark
Croatia is heading through to the quarterfinals, and by the narrowest of margins. They came up against an absolute superstar of a goalkeeper in Kasper Schmeichel, but their own keeper Danijel Subašić came up with some huge saves of his own in the shootout.
There wasn’t much that happened between a wild opening five minutes and a 115th minute penalty. “Zanka” Mathias Jorgensen scored the opening goal off a long throw in the second minute, and Croatia found and equalizer through Mario Mandžukić almost immediately afterwards. The teams then spent the rest of regular time and most of extra time playing conservatively, until a lapse in concentration by Denmark.
Modrić set up the chance with a brilliant through ball for Ante Rebic, who was clear through on goal when Zanka had no choice but to haul him down. The ensuing penalty by Modrić was saved brilliantly by Schmeichel, sending the teams to a shootout.
Schmeichel was brilliant again in pens, making two excellent stops. But Subašić was up to the task, making three truly excellent saves, setting up Ivan Rakitić to score the winner.
Croatia vs. Denmark penalty shootout results
Christian Eriksen MISSES! Subasic tips his shot off the post.
Milan Badelj MISSES! Kick save by Schmeichel.
Simon Kjaer SCORES! Drilled into the top corner.
Andrej Kramarić SCORES! Stutter-step and down the middle.
Michael Krohn-Dehli SCORES! Well-placed bottom left.
Luka Modrić SCORES! That’ll feel good.
Lasse Schöne MISSES! Subasic save, looked like he read it all the way.
Josip Pivarić MISSES! Schmeichel with an amazing diving stop.
Nicolai Jørgensen MISSES! Subasic kick save.
Ivan Rakitić SCORES!
Croatia wins the shootout 3-2.
Denmark 1-1 Croatia, AET. We’re going to penalties.
Croatia should have had a winner, but Denmark is still in this, thanks to a couple of heroes. First, Zanka, for making a heads-up foul, even at the cost of a suspension, to give his goalkeeper a chance to be the hero. And then, of course, to Schmeichel for making the sensational stop.
If you need a refresher, here’s how World Cup penalty shootouts work.
PENALTY! Zanka fouls Ante Rebic. Luka Modrić steps up and… MISSES!
What an incredible play by Luka Modrić. He plays Rebic through on goal with a spectacular ball, and he blows by Simon Kjaer and Kasper Schmeichel. Zanka has no choice but to haul him down to prevent the goal.
Modrić steps up to the spot and… IT’S SAVED! Modrić put it in the corner and it doesn’t even matter. Schmeichel comes up with an unbelievable stop.
Full time score: Denmark 1-1 Croatia. We’re going to extra time.
Yeah, not a lot of action in that second half. The frenetic opening five minutes apparently scared both of these teams off taking risks, and there wasn’t much for highlights afterwards. If you need a refresher on how extra time works, here are the World Cup overtime rules.
Halftime score: Denmark 1-1 Croatia
After a wild opening five minutes, this match has settled into what you might have guessed it would be if you watched Denmark and Croatia’s group stage games. The star midfielders Christian Eriksen and Luka Modrić are controlling the match, and both defenses have performed well after their early lapses. These teams look intelligent and well-organized, so a goal might be tough to come by.
GOAL! Mario Mandžukić! Denmark 1-1 Croatia
OK, so we’re just having a chaos game, then? Croatia works it well into the box on the right flank, but Ivan Rakitic’s cross wasn’t perfect. It was right at Simon Kjaer, who hit Andreas Christensen in the face with his clearance, and the ball deflected fortunately for Mandžukić, who capitalized on a wide-open chance.
GOAL Mathias Jorgensen! Denmark 1-0 Croatia
Didn’t see that coming! Denmark have the lead after just 65 seconds, and off a long throw by Jonas Knudsen, of all things. No one marks Thomas Delaney, who picks up the ball in the box, tries to make space for himself, and deliberately or not, taps it to Zanka. The Danish center back takes a hopeful shot and it goes in.
This is… not good goalkeeping.
With progression to the group stage locked up, Marcelo Brozovic suspended and a few other players at risk for suspension, Croatia rotated heavily in its final group stage game. But against Denmark, in the World Cup round of 16, all of the first choice players have returned.
The Danes have a suspended player back in too, with Yurary returning to the lineup in attack. In a bit of a surprising move, Jonas Knudsen comes into the defense, making his first start of the tournament.
Croatia vs. Denmark lineups
Croatia and Denmark continue play on Sunday in the Round of 16 fighting for a spot in the quarterfinals. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and you can watch it on FOX and Telemundo. Online streaming is also available in English through FOX Sports Go here or in Spanish through Telemundo here.
In the 2014 World Cup, Croatia did not advance from the group stage and Denmark did not qualify for the tournament at all. Both now in new territory, the two teams will work to advance to the quarterfinals of the knockout stage. The winner of this match will face the winner of Spain and Russia.
Croatia vs. Denmark Time, TV channel, and streaming info
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
TV: FOX (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
For listings from more countries, check out Live Soccer TV.
Croatia vs. Denmark news to read before kickoff
We’ve made it through the group stage of the World Cup. Our 16 remaining teams are set, with the eight matches starting tomorrow to determine who moves on. These matchups run the gamut from “drop everything you’re doing and get to a TV now” to “sure,” but there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. Let’s rank all eight of the remaining games by watchability:
Croatia, meanwhile, took care of business against Iceland despite resting some stars. Iceland actually had a decent chance to steal second place from Argentina until the very end of their match, when they conceded a winner to Croatia while taking some desperate risks. Croatia will meet Denmark in the next round.