Modric had squandered a chance to win the game from the spot in extra-time when Kasper Schmeichel repelled his effort, but Subasic saved from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen to allow Ivan Rakitic to win it with his side’s final kick in the shoot-out.
Most of the earlier fireworks in Nizhny Novgorod had arrived inside the opening four minutes, during which defender Mathias Jorgensen fired Denmark into the lead before Mario Mandzukic levelled.
However, their joy was short-lived as Zlatko Dalic’s men restored parity within three minutes when, after defender Simon Kjaer’s clearance had ricocheted back off team-mate Andreas Christensen, the ball fell nicely for Mandzukic to blast home the equaliser.
Here we take a look at all goals in animation from normal time.
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic saluted skipper Luka Modric after he shook off the disappointment of missing an extra-time penalty to help his side seal a shoot-out victory over Denmark.
The Real Madrid midfielder failed from 12 yards with the sides locked together at 1-1 after 120 minutes in their last-16 clash in Nizhny Novgorod, but converted from the spot at the second time of asking as goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three Danish penalties to lay the foundation for a 3-2 win.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Dalic said: “He took the responsibility as a true captain. He scored and it speaks volumes about Luka.
“He said he wanted to take one in the penalty shoot-out – can you imagine what would have happened had he not scored? This shows the qualities of a great player and Luka is a great player.”
If it was Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic who ultimately sent Croatia through with his side’s fifth spot-kick, it was Subasic who was the hero after saving from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen to book a quarter-final showdown with hosts Russia.
Dalic said: “He was our hero tonight. He saved three penalties in the penalty shoot-out – you don’t see that every day. He pulled us out when we needed it most.”
Mathias Jorgensen’s first-minute opener handed the Danes the perfect start, but the lead lasted just three minutes as Mario Mandzukic levelled.
However, despite the early promise, the game failed to deliver as Denmark spiked the Croatian guns for long periods, although Modric should have won it after Mathias Jorgensen felled Ante Rebic inside the box in the 116th minute.
But Modric saw his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel, much to the delight of his father Peter watching on in the crowd.
Dalic admitted his team was far from at its best, but praised the fighting spirit of his players and warned them that will need to be just as resilient against the Russians.
He said: “This is going to be a huge match. We cannot relax, we must be even stronger and more stable because we are going to play a very difficult opponent, a great opponent.
“We will not let our guard down, there can be no arrogance going forward. We are happy with what we have achieved, but we know we have to do more.”
Luka Modric has been one of the standout players at the World Cup, and the Croatian midfielder was at it again on Sunday as he guided his side to a tense victory over Denmark, with a penalty shootout needed to separate the two sides.
He could have put the game to bed prior to the shootout had he scored a penalty in extra time, but that was the only time he put a foot wrong as he dictated proceedings from the middle of the park.
Here’s a closer look at Modric’s performance.
Goals – 0
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on target – 2
Pass Accuracy – 83%
Key Passes – 5
Dribbles – 3
Modric has found another gear at the World Cup and it was on display again on Sunday. His copy-book was blotted by a missed penalty in extra time that would almost certainly have won the game, but other than that, he barely put a foot wrong, and he redeemed himself in any case by converting in the shootout.
Passing – Modric has a well-established reputation as one of the best passers in the world, and that was on show again at Nizhny Novgorod. He was constantly setting up his teammates in strong positions.
Command – The Croat’s passing is sensational but what truly sets him apart is the way he controls the game from midfield. Through his passing and movement, Modric made it clear that he was the one running the show.
His penalty miss in extra time was looking like one of those fateful moments the game often throws up. With a win riding on the outcome, there’s no one Croatia would rather have stepping up to the spot, but this was one of those rare occasions Modric let them down. Thankfully, he’d redeem himself by scoring in the shootout.
Modric is arguably the most complete player in the game at the moment, and it shows in displays like this. Missed penalty aside, the Real Madrid man put on a clinic of how the midfield position should be played. His passing, vision, movement, and game management were all superb. Right now, Modric has to be a frontrunner for player of the tournament.
RATING – 7/10