- It was just two years ago that Slaven Bilic bemoaned the frustration and divide in Croatian football between its supporters and the football association, with Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic trying to calm down supporters as they threw flairs onto the field and delayed a match against the Czech Republic. That controversy resulted in a match against Italy in front of an empty stadium.
- Striker Nikola Kalinic was sent off by manager Zlatko Dalic after their first group stage match against Nigeria for refusing to play as a sub. Regardless of chemistry issues, they scored seven goals and gave up just one while making the leap from dark horse contenders to now third favorites behind France and Brazil.
- Denmark manager Age Hareide promised his side would attack more against Croatia as they scored just one goal in the group stage rounds.
- Kasper Schmeichel was loaned out to five different clubs during his four seasons at Manchester City, then played at Notts County and Leeds before landing with Leicester City in 2011. He no longer answers questions from journalists comparing him to his father.
- Schmeichel’s counterpart Danijel Subasic played six seasons in Croatia’s second division before moving to Hajduk Split, then Monaco. He was named Ligue 1 goalkeeper of the year in 2016.
- This match always had 0-0 and penalties written on it.
- Mathias Joergensen scored a very 2018 Denmark goal off a scramble inside of the box two minutes into the match. Mario Mandzukic evened the score two minutes later off an uncharacteristic defensive mistake from Denmark.
- Thomas Delaney has been Denmark’s most important player throughout the tournament considering their defensive play, especially in tactical fouling.
- This is not the Denmark we imagined after they beat Ireland 5-1 in the second leg to qualify for the World Cup with Christian Eriksen putting on one of the best individual performances of the season.
- Jonas Knudsen’s long throw-ins are Denmark’s best form of attack in this match.
- After the first five minutes, the match settled into the defensive, cautious battle we expected for the remaining 115 minutes.
- Luka Modric’s trademark through ball to Ante Rebic was the first time all match that Denmark’s back four were caught out.
- Schmeichel saving Modric’s penalty in extra time without a rebound surely is a sign of Denmark advancing.
- Denmark’s attack would have looked much different with Pione Sisto in the starting lineup as his quickness and drive in tight spaces gives Eriksen space to pick passes.
- Croatia subbing off both Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic stood out as you’d want both players taking penalties.
- Schmeichel’s demeanor and aggression during the penalty shootouts felt like he had the advantage instead of the penalty kick taker.
- In contrast, Subasic’s penalty saves were much quieter.
- Simon Kjaer had the best penalty kick of the shootout. Modric displayed as much emotion as we’d ever see after he sent Schmeichel the wrong way. The difference between the two sides was Nicolai Jorgensen taking Denmark’s final kick, while Croatia had Rakitic.
- Croatia won the possession battle 54% to 46%, while each side combined to complete less passes than Spain this morning.
- This was not a classic nor a great match, and any neutral can skip past the fifth minute and go straight to penalties. But the shootout featured dramatic changes in momentum with each save, as Bilic demonstrated off-air.
- We look at attackers like Kylian Mbappe or Aleksandr Golovin for breakout performances, but Schmeichel’s match in saving Modric’s penalty in regulation and two more in the shootout felt like a moment despite being 31 years old and having already won the Premier League.
- Schmeichel refused to blame anyone after the match, saying how much bravery it takes to step up to take a penalty. Croatia made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in 20 years. Their match against Russia should be much more open and favor the visitors.
A World Cup Abstract: Croatia 1 (3), Denmark 1 (2)