By Izuchukwu Okosi

Croatia booked a place in the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday night after they win 3-2 on penalties against Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. They will face hosts Russia in the last eight of the tournament.

The match ended 1-1 at regulation time after the sides scored two quick goals within the first five minutes.

Mathias Jorgensen’s left footed placed effort near the goal line was deflected into the net by Croatia’s keeper Danijel Subasic’s arm in the first minute.

Mario Mandzukic equalised for Croatia in the 4th minute after the ball inadvertently struck on the face of Andreas Christensen and fell kindly to the path of the Juventus striker.

Christian Eriksen’s clipped effort towards the end of the first half shaved the top of the post.

Denmark created far more chances than Croatia in the second half but lacked the cutting edge to put the contest to bed.

Croatia’s Ivan Perisic got a glancing header to a short cross and tipped it just over Kasper Schmeichel’s outstretched hands and the crossbar with six minutes left on the clock.

The match dragged on but both  sides failed to breach the other’s defence and extra time followed.

Then a moment of chaos for the Danish defence who were caught flat footed. Ante Rebic was released with a through pass and was fouled by Denmark’s goal scorer, Jorgensen whose yellow card sees him ineligible for his country’s next game.

Luka Modric’s poorly taken penalty was saved by Schmieichel whose father was in the stands to cheer on.

Croatia won the shootout as the trio of Andrej Kramaric, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic converted but Milan Badelj and Josip Pivarac missed.

For Denmark, Simon Kjaer and Michael Krohl Delhi scored while Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen missed.

By Izuchukwu Okosi