Croatia beat Denmark on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals

Croatia beat Denmark in a dramatic penalty shootout on Sunday to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals.

With the match 1-1 after extra time, spot kicks were needed for the second time in the day to decide a last-16 tie.

First, Mathias Jørgensen turned home in the second minute after Croatia failed to clear a long throw-in from Jonas Knudsen, the defender's shot creeping under Subasic to give Denmark the flawless start.

The match ultimately went to a shoot-out, where Croatia goalkeeper Subasic stood out with three saves to ensure his side advanced to the quarter-finals, where they will face host nation Russian Federation.

Croatia will next face host Russian Federation in the quarterfinals this weekend in Sochi.

Croatia should have too much for Denmark.

They could have wrapped up the result five minutes from the end of extra time but Luka Modric had his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Croatia XI: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida; Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic; Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Ante Rebic; Mario Mandzukic.

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Croatia players celebrate following their sides victory in a penalty shoot out.

There was an air of expectation that Croatia's "golden generation" of players, including Modric, Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, would rise to the occasion but there was little urgency, spark or flair about Zlatko Dalic's team after the early action. Victorious in all three of their group games, they are the fourth highest-scoring side in the competition and have played some vibrant football at times, not least in the heavy defeat of Argentina. But Milan Mandzukic equalized on 4 minutes to put Croatia back in the match and the match was still level after 90 minutes. The Scandinavian side were unbeaten in their practice games coming into the World Cup.

The anticipated influence of Christian Eriksen for the Danes and Croatia's Modric held out hopes of more mouth-watering action but their craft was only evident in patches. We're going to penalty kicks.

The 51-year-old Bosnian-born coach, who played as a midfielder for many clubs in the former Yugoslavia and Croatia, said he was having the time of his life in Russian Federation.

39 minute: Free-kick to Croatia on the left-flank.

Three minutes of added time, Denmark have plenty forward trying to pinch a victor.

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  • Stacy Allen