Croatian fans are celebrating their team’s laborious but stylish victory over Denmark in a penalty shootout. Millions of excited Croats are now looking forward to their clash with Russia in the World Cup quarter-finals in Sochi.
A tense atmosphere at Zagreb’s main square and across the country during the nail-biting battle of goalkeepers, after an exhausting 30 minutes of extra time, immediately turned into a wild party fest the very minute Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 in a penalty shootout in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday night.
Torches were lit and people, some with tears in their eyes, started hugging, kissing and embracing each other as the tense 120-minute match came to a victorious end with the final penalty successfully performed by Barcelona’s midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
Celebrations also engulfed bars and narrow streets, while paralyzing the intersections of the city, where thousands of fans danced the night away, jumping for joy, waving national flags and singing chants in support of their squad.
After quick goals by each team in the opening four minutes, first by Martin Jorgensen of Denmark then by Mario Mandzukic of Croatia, for the remainder of regular time the rivals were locked in a 1-1 tie, forcing the game into overtime and, eventually, a penalty shootout.
Despite an incredible performance by the Man of the Match, Peter Schmeichel, who saved a total of three penalties over the course of the game, the Croatian goalkeeper, Danijel Subasic, had his own tricks to secure a win for the Adriatic team. Croatia will now play Russia in the quarter final on July 7 at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi.