Denmark goalkeeper gets one-upped in World Cup shootout
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Despite saving three penalties, Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel got one-upped in the shootout.
Schmeichel first saved a penalty from Croatia playmaker Luka Modric late in extra time to force Sunday's match to a shootout. He then saved two more spot kicks, but it was Croatia that advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals.
"It's a strange feeling," Schmeichel said. "Huge disappointment but also enormous pride about our team. I think today we had the opportunity."
The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic then set a tournament record by saving three penalties in the shootout, which Croatia won 3-2.
Schmeichel and Subasic stopped five spot kicks combined, a record in a World Cup shootout and one of the greatest goalkeeping displays in tournament history.
"He saved three penalties in a shootout," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of his goalkeeper. "'You don't see that every day."
Schmeichel's first penalty save came in the 116th minute when he dived to his left to smother the attempt from Modric. He later saved spot kicks from Milan Badelj and Josip Pivaric.
"I'm sorry for Kasper and the whole team," Denmark coach Age Hareide said. "That's just the brutality of football."
Schmeichel was playing with his famous father in the stadium, the pain and joy on Peter Schmeichel's face flashing on the giant TV screen as he watched his son play. He jumped up and down after each penalty save.
The elder Schmeichel, who played for Manchester United, was in goal when Denmark beat the Netherlands in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the 1992 European Championship. Denmark went on to win that title.
The current Denmark goalkeeper, who does not like to be compared to his famous father, said it was difficult to accept the result.
"There are many emotions right now," said Schmeichel, who won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016.
Schmeichel said he seldom practices penalties because it's impossible to replicate the pressure and adrenalin in practice.
"Pressure does something to players and people and it's natural," Schmeichel said. "I've played a lot of games and today with the penalties I went with my intuition, what I felt in the moment. That was unfortunately not enough in the end."