AP PHOTOS: All about ’keepers on Day 2 of World Cup last 16
MOSCOW (AP) — Penalties. Love them or hate them, they dominated Sunday’s knockout matches at the World Cup, and not just because both games ended in shootouts. Russia might not have been able to hang in with Spain were it not for Gerard Pique flinging his arm at a header in the area, drawing a penalty that Artem Dzyuba converted to make it 1-1. Luka Modric has had a masterful tournament for Croatia but was bested by Danish ’keeper Kasper Schmeichel in the dying moments of injury time when he could have won it from the spot.
In the shootouts, the goalkeepers stood even taller. Igor Akinfeev saved two of Spain’s five shots as the hosts shocked the 2010 champions in Moscow. Schmeichel saved two more himself, cheered on by his famous father, longtime Manchester United net minder Peter Schmeichel, the best in the world in his day. Ultimately though, Schmeichel was matched and Denmark was denied by Croatian ’keeper Danijel Subasic, who joined Ricardo of Portugal as the only men to save three penalties in a single World Cup shootout.