Kasper Schmeichel: 'Strange feeling' to lose after penalty heroics

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said it was a "strange feeling" to exit the World Cup after stopping three penalties -- one in extra-time and two in the shootout -- as Croatia progressed to the quarterfinals.

Watched from the stands by his father Peter, Schmeichel denied Luka Modric late in extra-time to push the game to a shootout, where he also stopped shots from Milan Badelj and Josip Pivaric.

But his Croatia counterpart Danijel Subasic did him one better by equalling a World Cup record with three saves in the shootout, leaving Schmeichel and his teammates out of the World Cup.

"It's a strange feeling -- huge disappointment, but also enormous pride about our team," the 31-year-old told a news conference after being named man of the match despite the result.

"I'm talking not only about the 11 on the pitch, but everyone involved with the team, those who work for the team."

After the match finished deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes in large part due to Schmeichel's save from Modric, Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen all missed from the spot as Denmark went down 3-2 in the shootout.

The goalkeeper was not about to start apportioning blame, however.

"No, anyone who is brave enough to stand up and take penalty is a hero," Schmeichel said. "Anyone who has the balls to take a penalty has my respect. This is a fantastic team. We will be back. It is important that we remember this feeling now and that we use it in the future."

Denmark's Norwegian coach Age Hareide also praised his goalkeeper's efforts.

"Kasper did all he could to ensure we won the match, both in extra time and the penalty shootout," he said. "When you have a penalty shootout, normally it's our three best players at taking penalties, but they missed today."

The 64-year-old said his players had been practising their penalties after training and referred to research in his home country that likened the stress of penalty-taking to being in a war zone.

"I'm just so sorry for Kasper and the whole team. But that's just the way it is for a penalty shootout," he added. "That's the brutality of football. Being on the other side is a lot happier, I can assure you."

It may not have been the end he wanted to his first campaign as Denmark manager, but Hareide said he was already looking forward to building on what the team had achieved in Russia.

"Finals do a lot for a group. We've been together since the 17th of May. People get to know each other on the pitch. Relationships and tactics get better," he explained. "We can learn a lot from this. The boys said that when we came back into the locker room."