Subasic shines for Croatia in penalty drama
GOALKEEPER Danĳel Subasic came to Luka Modric’s rescue as Croatia eased past Denmark into a World Cup quarter-final clash with hosts Russia after a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Modric had squandered a chance to win the game from the spot in extra-time when Kasper Schmeichel repelled his effort, but Subasic saved from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen to allow Ivan Rakitic to win it with his side’s final kick in the shoot-out.
Most of the earlier fireworks in Nizhny Novgorod had arrived inside the opening four minutes, during which defender Mathias Jorgensen, of Huddersfield Town, fired Denmark into the lead before Mario Mandzukic levelled.
The Danes enjoyed the better of the 120 minutes, but were unable to find a winner and were ultimately made to pay in the cruellest way.
They needed less than a minute to get their noses in front when the Croatian defence failed to deal with Jonas Knudsen’s long throw.
Thomas Delaney managed to get the ball under control at the far post, but it was defender Jorgensen who thumped a low shot past Subasic to open the scoring.
However, their joy was short-lived as Zlatko Dalic’s men restored parity within three minutes when, after defender Simon Kjaer’s clearance had ricocheted back off team-mate Andreas Christensen, the ball fell nicely for Mandzukic to blast home the equaliser.
After a frantic start the game began to settle down although Denmark struggled to get star man Eriksen on the ball and Croatia, despite prospering in wide positions with Ivan Perisic prominent, were unable to find a telling final ball.
With six minutes remaining Modric split the Danish defence with a superb pass and Jorgensen brought Rebic down after he had rounded Schmeichel, only for the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder then to fluff his lines when the goalkeeper kept out his spot-kick.
But in the shoot-out,Subasic saved from Eriksen and Schone as Schmeichel denied Milan Badelj and Josip Pivaric, but after the Croatia goalkeeper had blocked Nicolai Jorgense’s kick, Rakitic sent the Leicester goalkeeper the wrong way.