Ivan Rakitic was the matchwinner as Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties to book a World Cup quarter-final showdown with Russia.
Just hours after the hosts had sealed their place in the last eight on spot-kicks, Croatia followed suit in Nizhny Novgorod as the last-16 round continued to thrill, Rakitic holding his nerve after Nicolai Jorgensen saw his effort saved.
Kasper Schmeichel – roared on by watching father Peter in the stands – had denied Luka Modric from the spot deep into extra-time (116) after Mathias Jorgensen had lunged in on Ante Rebic with the game tied at 1-1.
But Rakitic and Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic spared their team-mate in the shootout as Zlatko Dalic’s side reached the last eight for the first time since 1998.
Mathias Jorgensen had bundled Denmark ahead with just 57 seconds gone, before Mario Mandzukic hit back (4) inside a breathless opening five minutes but a tactical shift from Denmark snuffed out Croatia’s threat until the dramatic denouement rendered their efforts in vain.
Croatia: Subasic (7), Vrsaljko (6), Lovren (6), Vida (7), Strinic (6), Rakitic (7), Brozovic (6), Rebic (6), Modric (7), Perisic (6), Mandzukic (7).
Subs used: Kovacic (6), Pivaric (6), Kramaric (6), Badelj (6).
Denmark: Schmeichel (8), Knudsen (6), Kjaer (6), Mathias Jorgensen (7), Dalsgaard (6), Christensen (6), Delaney (7), Eriksen (6), Poulsen (7), Cornelius (5), Braithwaite (6).
Subs used: Schone (6), N Jorgensen (6), Krohn-Dehli (6), Sisto (6).
Man of the match: Kasper Schmeichel
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