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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Zlatko Dalic: Croatia have no intention of stopping at World Cup quarter-finals

Rakitic converts winning penalty as Croatia defeat Denmark 3-2 in shoot-out after 1-1 draw in their second-round match

Former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic celebrates after seeing his Croatia side reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic celebrates after seeing his Croatia side reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

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

The Croats 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," Dalic told reporters after the victory.

Sunday's win over Denmark was secured in the same stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, where the Croats 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 backfoot for most of the second half.

Former Al Ain manager Dalic said his team "played for the result", and he was unconcerned about the performance.

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

"You have to earn your luck and the lads earned theirs," he added. "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 Croatian captain missed a 116th minute extra-time penalty but volunteered to take another penalty 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."

Denmark manager 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," he said.

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Hareide added that he had set up his team to deny Modric and his midfield partner Ivan Rakitic - who struck the winning penalty in the shoot-out - space as he described the Croats as the best counter-attacking team in Europe.

Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel won the man-of-the-match award 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," he said.