Croatia has booked their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup thanks to a penalty-shootout win over Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.
The second-smallest nation left in the competition squandered a chance to win the match with 116 minutes player after Kasper Schmeichel kept out Luka Modric’s penalty.
Neither side had conceded a goal from open play heading into this match, but a frenetic start to proceedings saw both teams net inside the opening four minutes for just the second time in a World Cup fixture.
Mathias Jorgensen’s opener was timed at 97 seconds, making it the fastest since Clint Dempsey’s strike against Ghana four years ago, coming via a Jonas Knudsen long throw. Croatia were level a few minutes later, though, as an attempted clearance in the box struck makeshift midfielder Andreas Christensen clean in the face, gifting Mario Mandzukic the chance to scuff the ball into the box of the net.
Both teams started living up to their reputations of being tough to break down, however, with the first meaningful shot after the restart coming 73 minutes in. Denmark’s previous four World Cup knockout ties had produced 19 goals at an average of nearly five a game, but neither team truly looked like netting from open play – Pione Sisto’s curler 108 minutes into the match the closest either side came prior to the penalty.
Chelsea has reportedly set an asking price of somewhere in the region of £50million for Thibaut Courtois as Real Madrid chase a transfer.
The Belgium international has previously suggested he could consider moving to be with his family in Spain, and Real Madrid are now focusing on him as an alternative to Roma shot-stopper Alisson, according to the Mail.
The report adds that Chelsea want £50m for Courtois as he enters the final year of his contract, which seems a decent price for a player they could lose for free in a year’s time.
However, that’s if they can persuade clubs to pay it – and if they charge too much they run the risk of big clubs simply waiting for another season before snapping Courtois up at the end of his contract.
The 26-year-old would no doubt make a fine signing for Real Madrid, who could perhaps do with an upgrade on Keylor Navas, who, for all his qualities, isn’t truly one of the top five in the world in his position, unlike Chelsea’s number one.