Early strikes leave Croatia and Denmark locked at 1-1

Arnold Nichols
July 2, 2018

We conceded in the first minute, then we equalized.

With five minutes remaining in the extra-time, Croatia were awarded a penalty for a challenge on Ante Rebic but Luka Modric could not net the victor from the spot as Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel pulled off the save.

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

So after another lively affair how did the players rate?

Croatian defender Dejan Lovren also believes his side can exceed his country's 1998 finish, the best ever in the country's history, according to the online newspaper Ahram.

Two chaotic goals in the opening four minutes made for a rollicking start at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Marcelo Brozovic, 7. Ivan Rakitic, 18. There are no other injury concerns for Denmark.

Luka Modric - 6 - The architect in central midfield, Croatia's talismanic playmaker was at the heart of every encouraging move his side produced, but ultimately squandered the definitive chance of the match as his last minute penalty was saved by Schmeichel.

At the other end, the Blazers struggled to break down the opposing defence, forcing Ivan Rakitic to long-range efforts, while Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic failed to profit from poor goalkeeping. Henrik Dalsgaard's clearance hit a teammate and fell for Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic to hook the ball in.

- Croatia have won all of their three matches coming into this game which is their longest ever streak of wins in the competition.

Subs: Livakovic, Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric, Lovre Kalinic.

But it was Schmeichel, the son of former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, that sent it to extra time with his penalty save on Modric's attempt.

Rebic has Knudsen on a plate on the right edge for Croatia!

Simon Kjaer - 6 - Developed a combative centre-back partnership with Jorgensen and despite an early hiccup, the dynamic duo were formidable for most of the match.

But Modric struck his kick at a good height for a keeper and Schmeichel, diving to this left, managed to hold the ball.

And with that finish, Croatia is through and will play Russian Federation on Saturday.

DF Sime Vrsaljko, 6 - Threatening down the flank, crossing and cutting inside, especially in the first half.

Braithwaite lashed a loose ball wide from an angle after Yussuf Poulsen had caused problems with a cross and Denmark soon threatened again, Delaney getting into the area but unable to find a final pass.

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