MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 01:06:47| >> :600:1525793:1525793:
Jul 1, 2018 at 7pm UK at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Attendance: 40,851
Croatia win 3-2 on penalties

Result: Croatia hold nerve to beat Denmark on penalties in World Cup last 16

Result: Croatia hold nerve to beat Denmark on pens
© Reuters
Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time to set up a World Cup quarter-final against Russia.

Croatia have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup thanks to a penalty-shootout win over Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The second-smallest nation left in the competition squandered a chance to win the match with 116 minutes played after Kasper Schmeichel superbly kept out Luka Modric's penalty.

Schmeichel so nearly proved the hero in the shootout by saving a further two spot kicks in a tense finale, but Nicolai Jorgensen's miss set up Ivan Rakitic to convert the winning pen.

Croatia, one of just three sides to boast a 100% record after the group stage, will now face Russia in the last eight next Saturday following the host nation's shock win over Spain earlier today.

Neither side had conceded a goal from open play heading into this match, but a frenetic start to proceedings saw both teams net inside the opening four minutes for just the second time in a World Cup fixture.

Mathias Jorgensen's opener was timed at 97 seconds, making it the fastest since Clint Dempsey's strike against Ghana four years ago, coming via a Jonas Knudsen long throw.

Brought into the side for exactly that reason, Knudsen's delivery proved difficult to deal with and Jorgensen was there to tuck the ball through the body of Danijel Subasic from six yards out.

Croatia were level a few minutes later, though, as an attempted clearance in the box struck makeshift midfielder Andreas Christensen clean in the face, gifting Mario Mandzukic the chance to scuff the ball into the back of the net.

Following that thrilling start it was Croatia who were quicker to find their rhythm, coming close to a second through a Rakitic shot that Schmeichel had to slap away.

Ante Rebic worked an angle to shoot from the follow-up, which Schmeichel again kept out, before Ivan Perisic blasted the rebound over the crossbar.

Dejan Lovren also glanced a header wide from a good position after getting between two opposition men, while Rakitic's next shot from distance was hit too close to Schmeichel.

Denmark's only other chance in the first half fell to Martin Braithwaite, who did not make clean contact with the ball when played through by Christian Eriksen.

The arrival of Lasse Schone for Christensen at the start of the second half was Age Hareide's way of acknowledging that fresh impetus was needed in midfield, with the Vatreni being allowed to dominate possession.

That alteration worked well as Denmark, in complete contrast to the first half, were on top pretty much throughout the second period.

Both teams started living up to their reputations of being tough to break down, however, with the first meaningful shot after the restart coming 73 minutes in.

Substitute striker Jorgensen swivelled after being picked out inside the box, but his shot lacked power and Subasic comfortably gathered,

Eriksen, who clipped the top of the crossbar with an intended cross in the first half, then shot wide from a good position on the edge of the area, as did rival playmaker Modric at the other end.

Perisic had a shot saved and glanced a right-sided cross over the bar as both teams looked for a late winner, but despite a combined 19 attempts there was to be no way through and extra time was required for the second time today.

Denmark's previous four World Cup knockout ties had produced 19 goals at an average of nearly five a game, but neither team truly looked like netting from open play - Pione Sisto's curler 108 minutes into the match the closest either side came prior to the penalty.

Opening goalscorer Jorgensen brought down Rebic once he had been played through on goal by Modric, but Schmeichel guessed the right way and kept out Modric's tired penalty.

Further drama was to follow in the shootout, as Eriksen and Milan Badelj missed the first two attempts.

The next four spot kicks were converted, but Schone and Josip Privaric both missed, as did Jorgensen, allowing Rakitic to win it at the end of a gruelling contest.

CROATIA (4-2-3-1): Subasic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Strinic (Pivaric 81'); Brozovic (Kovacic 71'), Rakitic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic (Kramaric 97'); Mandzukic (Badelj 108')

DENMARK (4-3-3): Schmeichel; Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Jorgensen, Knudsen; Eriksen, Christensen (Schone 46'), Delaney (Krohn-Delhi 98'); Braithwaite (Sisto 106'), Cornelius (Jorgensen 66'), Poulsen

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Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in action during his side's international friendly with Brazil at Wembley on June 3, 2018
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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