Coastweek website



Croatia advance to the quarterfinals after beating Denmark 3-2

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- Croatia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals after beating Denmark 3-2 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Sunday.

They will face hosts Russia looking to reach the semifinals for the first time 20 years after finishing third in the 1998 France World Cup.

Goalkeepers from both sides performed outstandingly, with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving three penalties and Leceister City’s Kasper Schmeichel stopping two watched by his father and former Denmark and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.

Ivan Rakitic ultimately scored the winning penalty and sent Croatia through after the two sides were deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Schmeichel, having been chosen as man of the match, said saving three penalties but losing the game gave him “a strange feeling and a huge disappointment”.

“But I have enormous pride for the team, not only the 11 (players) on the pitch, but also everyone involved and worked for the team,” the goalkeeper said.

Denmark went ahead in the first minute when Jonas Knudsen hurled a long pass from the right into the box. Mathias Jorgensen squeezed off a shot which was fumbled by Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in off the base of the left post.

Just after three minutes, Croatia managed to level the score. Denmark failed to make a clearance of a cross from the right and Mario Mandzukic swept the ball into the net.

Paces slowed down in the second half. Although the Danish emerged from the break with more attacking intents, both sides haven’t created good chances.

Any hopes that Denmark and Croatia could have taken the lead vanished within 90 minutes and the game headed to extra time.

Age Hareide, Denmark coach, told reporters after the game that his team played better during the regular time, epically second half.

“We had a good team. We had a fair chance to win against Croatia. We were able to stop Croatia from playing well,” said the 64-year-old coach.

In the 113th minute, Luka Modric’s through pass found Ante Rebic, who rounded off the outrushing Schmeichel only to be brought down inside the box by Mathias Jorgensen. The referee pointed straight to the spot.

However, Modric failed to capitalize on this great opportunity, as his right-foot shot was saved by the Denmark goalkeeper. A penalty shootout was needed to decide the winner.

Denmark forward Nicolai Jorgensen’s shot was saved by Subasic while Rakitic scored in the final round.

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic praised his goalkeeper as the “hero of the whole team” as he saved three penalties.

Despite missing the first penalty in the extra time, Modric stood again in front of the spot during the penalty shootout and didn’t fail another time.

On Modric’s performance, Dalic said that it was “fascinating” that the midfielder was determined and managed to score another penalty.

“Modric said himself that he was going to shoot the penalty. Can you imagine what would have happened if he had not scored? This showed the quality of a great player,” Dalic said.

FIFA statistics showed that Croatia made 22 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Denmark made 15. Ball possession was 54 percent for Croatia and 46 percent for Denmark.

A total of 40,851 spectators attended Sunday’s match at the 45,000-seat Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

Croatia will play Russia on July 7, as the hosts eliminated Spain on penalties earlier in Moscow.



Denmark goalkeeper says he’s proud of team despite World Cup exit

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel says he is proud of his team despite of their failure to reach the World Cup quarterfinals after a disappointing loss to Croatia here on Sunday.

After a 120-minute draw, the Danish lost 3-2 to Croatia in a thrilling penalty shootout, in which the Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties and Schmeichel stopped two.

Schmeichel was chosen as the man of the match for his superb saves. “Today we had opportunities, and we were better in the second half and in the extra time. But we didn’t have the luck. It is difficult to accept that and to put it into words,” Schmeichel said at a post-match conference.

“It’s a strange feeling, [a] huge disappointment, but also enormous pride about our team, not only the 11 people on the pitch, but also everyone involved or working for the team,” the 31-year-old said.

When asked about whether he felt let down by teammates who missed the penalties in the shootout, Schmeichel said that anyone who stood up and took the penalty is a hero to him and has his respect. “We win, we lose, as a team. This is a fantastic team, which I’m proud of. It’s important that we remember this feeling, and we use it in the future,” he said.

During extra time, Schmeichel saved a Luka Modric penalty and prevented Croatia from winning the game before the lottery of a penalty shootout. He said after the game that the save was made with intuition, “with what I felt at that moment; unfortunately it was not enough in the end.”

Although the team will not continue their World Cup campaign, Schmeichel thanked the hosts for organizing such a good tournament. “Everywhere we went, we were treated very well. The pitch, the stadium, the fans...everything is fantastic. It was upsetting that we are not going to experience this anymore,” he said.

Schmeichel was watched by his father and former Denmark and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.


This is the cruelty of football, says Denmark coach

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- Denmark coach Age Hareide said on Sunday that his team lost to Croatia by only a small margin and this is the cruelty of football.

Denmark lost to Croatia 3-2 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out after an rather even match with the two sides tied 1-1 after extra time.

Goalkeepers from both sides performed outstandingly, with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving three penalties and Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel stopping two.

“Kasper did all that he could to make sure we won the match, both in extra time and in shootout. But our three best players for penalties all missed today,” Hareide told a post-match press conference.

“I’m sorry for Kasper and for the whole team. I think they played well. But that is what can happen in penalties, and this is the cruelty of football,” the coach added.

He went on to explain how players could miss penalties though they have been much better during trainings.

“When you are out there in training, there is no pressure. But research shows that your pulse is like in a war zone when you take a penalty. We had a wonderful keeper, but that didn’t help,” he said.

Hareide said that his players had done a good job in getting Croatia under control and creating chances, and he could think of nothing that he could have done differently or better to win the match.

“If you put more people up front, there is risk of counterattack. Croatia is one of the best teams in Europe on counterattacks. Having control is also important. But we (already) had better control in the second half,” said the coach.

Regarding the team’s future, Hareide said that his team will continue to stay strong and learn a lot from the World Cup matches.

“When we go back to the locker room, we continue as team. If we can stay strong, I think we will be better in the (future) European Championships,” he said.


Croatia hope to revive past glory, say coach, player.
Croatia coach: We have to do more against Russia

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said that his team has to do more when they face hosts Russia in the upcoming quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties in their round of 16 clash after the score was 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Dalic said at a post-match press conference here that Croatia had a difficult game against Denmark as the Danish are a disciplined and well-organized side.

He said Croatia didn’t play as well as they did in their previous three games in the group phase which ended with straight wins, but he was happy with the result. “I think this can only get us closer together and make us stronger. After you win such a game, you know you are worth it. And my faith in my players is also stronger,” the coach added.

Dalic also spoke highly of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, saying that he was the one that brought Croatia the victory after two Croatians missed penalties under pressure. “[Our] goalkeeper is our hero tonight. He saved three penalties. You don’t see that every night. Great thanks to him.”

Luka Modric missed a key penalty in extra time but scored one in the penalty shootout. Dalic was full of praise for the Real Madrid star.

“Missing a penalty, that’s something that just happens. But what’s fascinating to me is his [Modric’s) determination to take one in the penalty shootout. He said himself that he was going to do that. Can you imagine what would have happened if he had not scored? This showed the quality of a great player,” Dalic said.

Croatia will face hosts Russia in the quarterfinals.

Dalic said that he expects a tough game as the hosts are a strong opponent. “It’s going to be a huge match. We cannot relax, and we must be even stronger and more stable because we are going to play a very difficult opponent, a great opponent,” he said. “We are happy with what we have achieved, but we know we have to do more.”


NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- As one of the only two sides that went through group matches with straight wins, Croatia now look to repeat or even surpass their best World Cup achievements two decades ago.

“For the past six months I’ve been trying to find the solutions to reach the basic objective and emerge from the group. That was a huge deal of pressure I put on myself,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic at a press conference here on Saturday.

“But then I said to myself this is not enough, because without me or with me this team is worth much more. This is not the final destination,” he added.

“It is high time that this generation hurdles this obstacle which we haven’t hurdled since 1998. I expect us to be capable of doing that ... We are full of self-confidence,” said Croatia captain Luka Modric.

Croatia, which finished the third place in France in 1998, remained unbeaten in the group phase of the tournament this year. They are facing Denmark in the upcoming knockout match on Sunday, and both Dalic and Modric expect a tough game.

“This is an important game for us. We’ve played fantastically in the group stage. We must be proud of that. But for this new game, we must forget all that went before,” said Modric.

“We have the highest possible respect for the Danish team...The fact they went 18 games unbeaten speaks volumes about their quality. They are disciplined, solid, well-organized, and they know what to do and how to do it at any moment on the pitch,” said Dalic.

“Of course, it’s down to us how we play. We have to be very cautious, be patient throughout the game and wait for our chances,” he added.

The 51-year-old coach also said that he is proud of what his team had achieved in the past month and is having the best day of his career.

“I must be calm, but there’s a struggle inside me. If the dear lord allows tomorrow, we will be overjoyed. If not, I’ll be proud of the time I spent with these lads,” he said.

“Irrespective of what comes next, these are going to be the best days of my career, whatever the result tomorrow,” he added.



Remember: you read it first at !


Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail:

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459

    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: