Don’t ever let pundits, friends or rivals tell you that a penalty shootout is all about luck. It takes skill for both the shooter and the goalkeeper to do their job and be the hero for their team and in the World Cup, for their country.

Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel put in such a performance that it’s a shame for one of them to lose. At the end, it was Subasic who saved three penalties in the shootout as Croatia defeated Denmark 3-2 in penalties.

For what it’s worth, Schmeichel had to make a critical penalty save in the 116th minute to even get things to a shootout. When Mathias Jorgensen sacrificed himself to save a guaranteed goal, Luka Modric stepped up to take the penalty and put Croatia into the quarterfinal against Russia. Instead, Schmeichel dove to his left and made the save.

Once they got to the shootout, Subasic and Schmeichel stepped up. After they both saved the first shot, both allowed the next two shots. Then they both saved the fourth shot and everything came down to the fifth and final shot.

That last attempt was the key. Nicolai Jorgensen went down the middle but Subasic had enough of his leg there to stop the shot. Then it came down to Ivan Rakitic who belted in the winner and their quarterfinal berth.

This is the first time Croatia has been in the knockout stage since their first World Cup in 1998 where they finished third (Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia before then). They face the hosts Russia who had to have their own penalty shootout against Spain.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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