Croatia advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup after an extraordinary penalty shootout victory over Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Arena Sunday.
The all-European clash began at breakneck pace when the Danes shot ahead after just 58 seconds, Mathias Joergensen prodding home after a goalmouth scramble.
But their lead lasted only a minute as Mario Mandzukic drew his side level with a close-range finish after a fortuitous rebound.
Croatia dominated much of the play from then on, forcing goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel into a number of big saves as the game went into extra-time.
And with five minutes left of play, the Croats were presented with a big chance to clinch victory when referee Nestor Pitana pointed to the spot after Joergensen fouled Ante Rebic who’d rounded Schmeichel following a delightful through ball from Modric.
But the Real Madrid man was denied his moment of glory as Schmeichel went the right way and saved the spot-kick.
A dramatic shoot-out ensued as both sides missed twice, before Ivan Rakitic kept a cool head to bury the crucial spot-kick and send his side into the quarterfinals where they’ll take on hosts Russia.