As it happened: Croatia squeeze past Denmark in dramatic fashion

As it happened: Croatia squeeze past Denmark in dramatic fashion

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Josh Slinger
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I've been Josh Slinger and I hoped you've enjoyed tonight's World Cup coverage. Keep following VAVEL for further coverage of every single World Cup game in Russia.

Following Spain's exit from the competition earlier today, Croatia will now surely fancy their chances of reaching at least the final, with a lot of sides weaker than them in their half of the draw. 

As underdogs, Denmark put up a good fight throughout, although with better delivery into the box from set-pieces, could've easily come away with a victory - heartbreak for Eriksen and co. 

Croatia's so-called 'golden generation' have certainly got away with one here, with what is likely to be their last chance of tasting victory in an international tournament for many of the big names in their squad.

This will be only the second time that Croatia have reached the World Cup quarter-finals, their reward being a game against the hosts, Russia, in the next round. 

A dramatic shoot-out comes to an end - Croatia with a huge win despite their below-par performance throughout. 

Full-time: Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)

GOAL! Rakitić scores for Croatia to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out!

SAVE! Subašić saves Jørgensen's effort with his feet. Croatia with the chance to win it. Croatia 2-2 Denmark.

SAVE! Schmeichel saves Pivaric's effort to keep the scores level! Croatia 2-2 Denmark.

SAVE! Schöne denied by Subašić. Croatia 2-2 Denmark.

GOAL! Modrić makes amends for his earlier penalty miss. Croatia 2-2 Denmark after two kicks each.

GOAL! Michael Krohn-Dehli re-establishes Denmark's lead. Croatia 1-2 Denmark.

GOAL! Kramarić levels the scoring for Croatia. Croatia 1-1 Denmark.

GOAL! Simon Kjær opens the scoring in the shoot-out. Croatia 0-1 Denmark 

SAVE! Schmeichel saves again, this time from Badelj. Croatia 0-0 Denmark.

SAVE! Subašić saves Eriksen's effort! Croatia 0-0 Denmark in the shoot-out

Here we go with the second penalty shoot-out of the day. Denmark will take first.

Drama right at the start and end of this 120-minute matchup, with Schmeichel saving the day for his nation. Can he now do it again in a penalty shoot-out? 

Full-time: Croatia 1-1 Denmark. Penalty kicks to follow!

There will be one additional minute at the end of extra-time.

116: Surreal scenes as Schmeichel guesses right and saves Modrić's effort to his left. The Great Dane junior saves his nation!

Penalty saved!

115: A brilliant through ball by Modrić to pick out Ante Rebić, who was brought down by Denmark goalscorer Jørgensen after he rounded the keeper, a tackle that the defender had to make with an open goal in front of Croatia's number 18.

Penalty for Croatia!

109: Sisto causing many problems with his pace since coming on, looking to drive at the Croatia backline at every opportunity, a potential difference-maker very late into this game. 

108: Croatia will also now make a change, Milan Badelj replaces Mandžukić.

105: Pione Sisto will replace Braithwaite for the second 15 minutes of extra-time

105: We're back under-way for the second 15 minutes of extra-time

Both teams looking unsurprisingly low on energy at the half-way point in extra-time. Penalties look to be beckoning, although one goal would almost certainly prove decisive.

Half-time in extra-time: Croatia 1-1 Denmark

One additional minute at the end of the first-half in extra-time.

98: The long ball game certainly more effective for Denmark in extra-time with Jørgensen holding the ball up well and laying it back to the likes of Eriksen and Lasse Schöne, who can then look to create.

97: Andrej Kramarić replaces Perišić for Croatia. 

96: Denmark dominating the opening stages of extra-time, long throw after long throw from Knusden, the Danes looking to make the long-ball game count to their advantage just like they did in the first-half of normal time. 

90: Eriksen gets us back underway for the first-half of extra-time. 

Chances few and far between in the second 45, with both sides looking cautious to throw a lot of men forward at times. The second game of the day to reach extra-time.

Full-time: Croatia 1-1 Denmark. Extra-time beckons.

90+2: Rakitić dances through the Denmark midfield, before unleashing a piledriver towards goal which had Schmeichel scrambling, although landed just wide of his right post - almost a late, dramatic winner.

There will be three additional minutes at the end of the 90.

86: A half-chance for Croatia as Modrić whips in the corner, which was then cleared out to Rakitić, who tries an optimistic header from the edge of the box - easily saved by Schmeichel. 

82: Both teams beginning to look tired as we reach the latter stages of the 90 minutes. A goal now would surely prove decisive. 

80: Another change for Croatia - Josip Pivarić replacing Ivan Strinić.

73: A first half-chance of the half for Denmark, Yussuf Poulsen driving forward down the wing before picking out Jørgensen, whose shot was fired straight at Subašić.

71: First change for Croatia, Mateo Kovačić replaces Marcelo Brozović.

66: A first change for the Danes, Nicolai Jørgensen replacing Andreas Cornelius.

60: A rather dull opening 15 minutes to the second 45, both sides with a conservative approach - wouldn't be surprised to see this game be the second of the day to go to extra-time. 

51: The second-half has begun with both teams trying to keep possession, Denmark opting to play it on the floor a lot more since the break.

The second-half is back underway.

An explosive opening five minutes was met by a less-exciting 40 as the teams go into the half-time break all level. 

Half-time: Croatia 1-1 Denmark

There will be one minute of added on time at the end of the first-half.

45: A chance right on half-time for Ivan Rakitić as a loose ball falls to him on the edge of the box, which he fired towards goal with his weaker left foot - comfortable saved for Schmeichel. 

39: A superb free-kick into the area from the somewhat quiet Luka Modrić, met by Dejan Lovren who couldn't quite direct his header on target. 

36: The game coming to somewhat of a stalemate in the latter stages of the first-half, both sides potentially just looking to get in at the break without conceding another.

27: Chance for Martin Braithwaite as the ball is played through to him, although his stretching attempt on goal is saved by an advancing Danijel Subašić.

25: The tactics of Åge Hareide's men becoming more and more clear as the game comes on - looking to play the ball long at every opportunity to make their height count. 

23: A rare attack from Denmark as Eriksen drives at the heart of the Croatian backline before his shot is deflected out for a corner. 

20: Shouts for a potential penalty for Croatia as Knudsen appears to bring down Mandžukić at the back post following a cross - nothing given.

19: Zlatko Dalić's men really starting to get on top, dominating possession and trying to wear down the Denmark backline. The Danes look happy to sit in and contain.

12: An Ivan Perišić freekick right on the edge of the Danish penalty area, deflected off the wall and out for a corner. 

11: The game has settled into a slightly slower rhythm following a chaotic start, with Croatia dominating the vast majority of possession.

4: A first international goal in a year for Mario Mandžukić, who capitalises on a defence mixup from Denmark and fires past Kasper Schmeichel, a brilliant response from the Croatian's! 1-1

GOAL! Croatia respond immediately!

1: Huddersfield Town's Mathias Jørgensen scrambles the ball over the line following a penalty area scrap, which was the result of Jonas Knudsen's long-throw. Croatia asleep, Denmark off to a flyer! 1-0

GOAL! Denmark lead!

1: We're underway in Nizhny Nivgorod!

Here come the teams! Lined up and ready for their respective national anthems.

The teams are in the tunnel and ready for their Round of 16 encounter - this victor in this one will make it to the quarter-final for just the second time in their history.

Croatia make several changes following their final group game against Iceland, returning to full strength. Poulsen also returns for the Danes following his suspension. 

Denmark XI: Schmeichel, Dalsgaard, Zanka, Kjaer, Christensen, Braithwaite, Knudsen, Delaney, Eriksen, Poulsen, Cornelius

Croatia XI: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Strinic, Brozovic, Rakitic, Rebic, Modric, Perisic, Mandzukic

Team news is in

Team news will follow shortly.

There has already been one shock today, as the host nation Russia knocked out Spain following a dramatic penalty shoo-out, the winner of this encounter will now face the hosts in the last eight.

Keep up-to-date with VAVEL for further updates from this game, as well as every other World Cup fixture. 

The winner of this one will face either Spain or Russia in the last eight, in what will be an exciting occasion against one of the tournament giants, or the overachieving hosts. 

One thing that is certain to come from this game is a historic moment for their nation, both of these sides have only reached the quarter-finals once in their history - an undoubtedly joyous moment for whoever progresses.

Neither of these teams have conceded a goal from open play thus far at the tournament, showing both managers have their sides defensively organised, although also having quality going forward - Luka Modrić and Christian Eriksen two of the men most likely to bring a creative spark for their respective nation. 

Many have seen the Croatian's as one of the most impressive teams thus far in Russia, having won all of their group games, including an impressive 3-0 victory over Argentina - clear favourites for this game.

Denmark are likely to field a similar team to what they did last time out, due to the fact they had to go full-strength against France in order to get all that they could to progress to the knockout stages. Assistant coach Jon Dahl Tomasson has said that midfielder William Kvist could feature, the 33-year-old has been sidelined since their opening game, in which he punctured a lung.  

Croatia made nine changes to their starting XI last time out in order to rest players for today's game, most of these will most likely be returning to the starting lineup, Ivan RakitićDejan Lovren and Mario Mandžukić are amongst the names expected to feature from the off.

It goes without saying that going into this game, Denmark are seen as the underdogs, less talent, less experience and less expectation on their shoulders. The Danes last qualified for the round of 16 in 2002 and did very well to get out of a very tough group, seeing off competition from Peru and Australia to finish in second-place behind France.

Nowadays, Croatia are seen by many as a team to be feared, and one that if possible should be avoided. However, when you look back at their World Cup history over recent years, it hardly supports the fact that they should be feared by many. Croatia last rose from the Group Stage in 1998 and didn't even qualify for South-Africa 2010, meaning that already this campaign is their best in 20 years.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text commentary of Croatia vs Denmark at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The game is due to kick-off at 7pm on Sunday evening, and I, Josh Slinger, will be providing updates from start to finish. Keep following VAVEL for live updates.

 
 
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