NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, July 1 (Reuters) - Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Sunday after the round of 16 clash finished deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Croatia’s Luka Modric had the chance to send his team into a quarter-final against hosts Russia with a penalty four minutes from the end of extra time but Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel dived to his left to save the spot kick.
A dramatic start with two goals in the first four minutes promised a full-blooded contest to decide who would meet Russia in Sochi on Saturday after the hosts beat Spain on penalties in Sunday’s early game.
Denmark went ahead after 57 seconds when Mathias Jorgensen scuffed the ball over the line off the foot of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic but Mario Mandzukic had the Croats back on terms with an equally scrappy finish three minutes later.
The remainder of the contest failed to live up to the frenetic start with the physical Danes successfully nullifying the threat of the Croatian midfield that lit up the group stage of the tournament.
Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Kazan, editing by Christian Radnedge