World Cup, eighth: Croatia beat Denmark after suspense (1-1 ap, 3 tab 2)
Hooked by a good team from Denmark, Croatia won their ticket to the quarterfinals after the shoot-out (1-1 ap, 3 tab 2).
The lesson: Croatia, hard work
That it was hard for Croatia this Sunday. While Zlatko Dale’s team was one of the most convincing in the first round, she appeared tired this time. And fortunately, she was able to count on a blow of the spell to equalize after four minutes, while the start of the match was catastrophic against a realistic Denmark. Mario Mandzukic, the only Croatian scorer of the match, opened the score for the Blacks one night after a free-domed release from Denmark, and the score did not change until the penalty shoot-out. In its slump, Croatia seemed to be struggling in what is usually its strength: the midfielder. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitichave released a good match, certainly, but the two players from Liga appeared little legs. Their positioning (see opposite) was much more remote than usual, the solutions less obvious, the calls less varied and less sharp, and the Croatian World Cup could have stopped sharp.
And if Luka Modric nearly sealed the fate of the match in overtime, the little genius of Zadar has passed close to eternal regrets. While throwing exceptionally well Ante Rebic in depth, it was mowed in front of the empty goal and got a penalty. Repair kick that Modric missed, blame a gala Kasper Schmeichel, and that could have become a national drama without the imperial delivery of Subasic a few minutes later. Croatia is still one of the favorites in a lighter game than the other, but it will have to recover, breathe and clear its mind before facing a fighting Russia that will play with confidence and home. The task is difficult, though, but Luka Modric and Co. have the means to go very far.
The winner: Danijel Subasic, from the worst to the best
The goalkeeper of AS Monaco has known everything in this undecided Croatia-Denmark. From his initial mistake, on the goal of Mathias Jorgensen (see below) from the first minute of play, to a shootout on goal heroic. With three attempts saved, Danijel Subasic finally allowed his country to advance to the quarter-finals after a difficult match that could have turned into a disaster. Imperial on Christian Eriksen’s opening shot, well struck in force to the right of the goalkeeper, he then hijacked the attempts of Lasse Schöne and Nicolai Jorgensen, much to the delight of his teammates. Dalia’s men can thank their goalkeeper, without whom the World Cup would have had a bitter taste of unfinished, while the other goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, was also exceptional. In the end, it
The loser: Mathias Jorgensen, unhappy hero
Less than a minute. That’s the time it took Denmark to open the score, to everyone’s surprise. On a long touch of Jonas Knudsen, exercise specialist, Mathias Jorgensen enjoyed a scramble to deceive Danijel Subasic, beaten and very unhappy to see the ball come back so early. And if Croatia equalized shortly thereafter, via Mario Mandzukic, Mathias Jorgensen’s match is a model of its kind. Present from one end to the other, he became a boss alongside Simon Kjaer, until the 114th minute decisive. Ante Rebic, alone in the empty goal after being thrown by Luka Modric and dribbled Kasper Schmeichel, was tackled in the box from behind by Mathias Jorgensen. A saving gesture, in the style of Luis Suarez against Ghana in 2010, Luka Modric missed out on the goal shot that followed. A sacrifice that unfortunately will not pay for Denmark