Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 16 News List

World Cup: ‘We don’t intend to stop here’: Croatia coach

AFP, NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, Russia

Croatia’s Luka Modric scores a penalty against Denmark in the shoot-out of their FIFA World Cup round-of-16 match in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Zlatko Dalic said he wanted Croatia’s World Cup adventure to continue past the quarter-finals after his team secured a quarter-final spot in a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Denmark.

Croatia on Sunday won 3-2 on penalties after a tense 1-1 draw, to set up a clash with hosts Russia on Saturday, but Dalic said his team, who have been tipped for World Cup glory, want to go much further.

“We have come so far, but we don’t intend to stop here,” he said.

The win over Denmark was secured in the same stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, where Croatia thumped Argentina 3-0 in the group stage, but this was a far more difficult game for Croatia, who came from behind after conceding a goal in the second minute and being on the back foot for most of the second half.

Dalic said his team “played for the result” and he was unconcerned about the performance.

Victory came after three penalty saves by Danijel Subasic in the shoot-out, the first goalkeeper to do that since Portugal’s Ricardo against England in 2006.

“You have to earn your luck and the lads earned theirs,” Dalic said. “Without luck you cannot do anything in life.”

Dalic said Subasic won them the game, but he was also full of praise for Luka Modric after the Croatia skipper missed a 116th-minute extra-time penalty, but volunteered to take another in the shoot-out.

“He said it himself: ‘I am going to take a penalty in the shoot-out.’ Can you imagine what would have happened if he had not scored, but he’s a great player,” Dalic said.

Denmark coach Age Hareide said he thought his team were unlucky not to win.

“I think we had a good chance against Croatia, I think we played a good match,” Hareide said.

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel won man of the match for his penalty saves, two more followed in the shoot-out, but said the result was a “huge disappointment.”

“I don’t think we had much luck, I don’t think the referee liked us today, it’s very difficult to accept, it’s difficult to put into words,” Schmeichel said.

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