So near yet so far for Denmark as they lost out on penalties but put up a real fight in their round of 16 tie against Croatia. Croatia went on to beat Denmark thanks to penalties but it was Denmark who started the game stronger with Mathias Joergensen scoring inside first minute of the game but Mario Mandzukic equalised for Croatia in minutes later. After that both teams canceled each other out for most part and off we went to penalties where Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties and won the game for Croatia as they face Russia in quarterfinals.
Kasper Schmeichel kept Denmark in the game when he saved a penalty from Luka Modric in second half of extra time and he also saved two more during penalty shoot out but it was not enough as Denmark players kept missing penalty.
Croatia have been one of the best teams in the world cup so far having won all three of their group games in what was a difficult group to say the least. They play Denmark in the round of 16 who finished runners-up behind France in group C. Croatia’s 3-0 win over Argentina was one of their greatest ever world cup results and they look in good shape to match or even better 1998 world cup finish when they reached semifinals. This should be a cracking game on Sunday at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Croatia vs Denmark Preview: Croatia dominated group D with three wins beating Nigeria (2-0), Argentina (3-0) and a come from behind win against Iceland securing 100% record in group stages and now they are real contenders to go all the way to the finals. Their first test is against hard working Danish side who rely heavily on Christian Eriksen goals and they finish runners up in their group winning 1 and drawing 2 matches.
Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have been at top of their game in the world cup so far and if they can dominate midfield against Denmark they should not have much problems disposing off this Danish side. These sides have meet 5 times before with both winning twice and 1 ending in draw, however Croatia won their only competitive meeting in major tournament back in 1996 with a 3-0 scoreline. Denmark are a hard working side and they lack cutting edge upfront which goes to show why they have only scored twice in three matches so far.
Team News & Possible Lineups: Croatia will continue with the 4-5-1 system with Milan Badeij starting in defensive midfield role while Modric and Rakitic supporting Rebic and Perisic in attack behind Mario Maddzukic.
This is how I expect both teams to lineup on Sunday night.
Denmark on the other hand will lineup with 4-2-3-1 system where Christen Eriksen play as no.10 while Sisto and Poulsen help in attack behind Jogensen as centre forward.
Match predictions: Croatia are odds on favourite to win this game in normal time and rightly so after their performances in the group stages so far. However Denmark are unbeaten so far and quality teams like France, Australia and Peru failed to break down Danish defense. So if Denmark can catch Croatia on their off day, they might have a chance in this one. I am going with a 2-1 win for Croatia in this one.