Croatia, with Dejan Lovren in tow, will meet host nation, Russia in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday, July 7th. The second day of knockout games was a lot less dramatic than the first. Russia and Spain seemed perfectly content to let absolutely nothing (except a ridiculous amount of passing) happen before the game crept to its inevitable penalty shootout end. Russia’s goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, saved shots from both Koke and former Red, Iago Aspas, to send Russia through to the quarter-finals and satisfy Liverpool and Egypt fans with pictures of Sergio Ramos in tears.
Croatia and Denmark began a lot more promisingly: with a goal apiece in the first four minutes of the game. The first half had a few more great moments, including an effort from Lovren that glanced wide, but the rest of the game was incredibly boring until the final few minutes of extra time when Croatia and Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić missed a penalty. When the penalty kicks rolled around, the goalkeepers were once again the heroes of the hour, with Denmark’s Schmeichel and Croatia’s Subašić saving five shots between them. Rakitić sealed Croatia’s victory when he fired his shot home and Croatia won 3-2 on penalties.
Lovren was moved to tears with his team’s victory and will hopefully play a bigger role in next Saturday’s game against Russia.