First a Denmark long throw caused chaos in the Croatia box and Mathias Jørgensen tucked home after less than a minute! They found the equaliser nearly straight away, with a spot of luck, as a Danish clearance ricocheted off Andreas Christensen and at the feet of Mario Mandzukic.
After 90 minutes, both teams were still level 1-1 and the game went into extra time.
Both keepers excelled in the shootout, with Kasper Schmeichel saving two but Danijel Subasic's three saves confirmed Croatia's passage to the quarter-final stage.
The Tottenham playmakers past and present hold down important roles for their national sides, with Modric outstanding for Croatia so far at Russian Federation 2018 and Eriksen Denmark's main attacking threat.
There was an air of expectation that Croatia's "golden generation" of players, including Modric, Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, would rise to the occasion but there was little urgency, spark or flair about Zlatko Dalic's team after the early action.
Subs: Livakovic, Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric, Lovre Kalinic.
Croatia enter their round of 16 clash with Denmark on Sunday harboring realistic ambitions of establishing themselves as genuine contenders to reach a World Cup final but they will face a stern test of their mettle against a Christian Eriksen-inspired Denmark intent on playing spoiler. Their movements were not as fluid or as coordinated as we had grown accustomed to and, especially once Denmark got Delaney to sit permanently alongside Schone (who had replaced Christensen) at the half, Denmark had the measure of Croatia in the middle of the park. It must be buzzing in Croatia at the moment because they have been excellent in this tournament so far.
Denmark starting to look more assured on the ball.
Yet this World Cup just keeps getting crazier. There will be two 15-minute periods. They punctuated a ideal 3-0 record with a resounding 3-0 win over Lionel Messi and Argentina. They are a limited side with a handful of decent players and one superstar in Christian Eriksen.
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