Despite three penalty saves, Kasper Schmeichel could not make himself a national hero as Denmark were cruelly dumped out of the World Cup on penalties.
Ivan Rakitic delivered the winning penalty in the shootout on Sunday, after an enthralling day of football saw two penalty shootouts in Russia.
The game got off to a lightening start when, with less than two minutes on the clock, Thomas Delaney brought the ball down from a cross and Mathias Jørgensen came in to squeeze the ball past Danijel Subasic at the near post.
Having got off to a nightmare start, Croatia replied immediately when a knock-down fell to Mario Mandzukic, who swept the ball home on the turn from six yards past a helpless Schmeichel.
Croatia had opportunities to extend their lead with good chances inside the box, however alert goalkeeping from Schmeichel kept the scores down and helped the game to develop some sort of rhythm after a crazy opening.
They were presented with another fantastic chance just six minutes before the break, when Dejan Lovren headed wide from Luka Modric's free kick on the left flank.
There was still time for either side to have a chance before the half time whistle. Christian Eriksen tried to dink an effort from nothing inside the far post, but it bounced off the top of the crossbar and away to safety.
Two minutes later, Rakitic saw his shot from just inside the edge of the box well saved by Kasper Schmeichel, who got down quickly to make the stop.
Denmark made a substitution at half time, with Lasse Schone coming on to replace the tired Andreas Christensen, who has had an impressive season last term with Chelsea.
The second half settled rather quickly, with Denmark controlling possession and Croatia struggling to provide support to their centre forward, Mario Mandzukic.
After 72 minutes, substitute Nicolai Jørgensen received the ball on the edge of the box, turned and shot - but it was straight down the throat of Subasic.
Croatia pushed for a late winner in the last ten minutes, with several players having efforts at goal that were not even close to troubling Schmeichel. Their best chance came six minutes from time, when they played the ball out wide and Ivan Perisic headed wide from a dangerous cross.
With both sides battling for a winner, Rakitic saw his name up in lights in the 92nd minute, when he had the opportunity to hit a shot from distance - only for it to flash wide of Kasper Schmeichel's right-hand post.
However, there was still another chance left as Denmark goal scorer Jørgensen lifted a shot wide of the post, as Subasic was out of position following a previous clearance.
Both teams pushed for a winner in extra time, with Knudsen's long throw-ins causing particular problems for the Croatian defence. However, it seems that nerves kicked in for Croatia as Denmark began to dominate the play once again. A finish was elusive and they will certainly have rued their chances at that stage.
The second half of extra time proved to be a cagey affair, with substitute Pione Sisto creating a fantastic chance when he curled his shot wide after 117 minutes.
With just over five minutes to go, the game turned on its head when Kramaric raced onto a fantastic through ball from and was brought down in the box by Mathias Jørgensen. Despite the best attempts of Kasper Schmeichel to protest the decision, the referee held firm and pointed to the spot.
The latter stages of these World Cup games have not disappointed us, and they didn't again as Kasper Schmeichel dived low to his left hand side and his justice was served as he produced arguably the biggest save of his career to date to deny Luka Modric from 12 yards.
SCHMEICHEL SAVES THE PENALTY!!!— 90min (@90min_Football) July 1, 2018
So to penalties it went, a chance for somebody to make their name as a national hero. It was Christian Eriksen who stepped up first, but Subasic was equal to it and tipped the kick onto the post. Advantage Croatia.
Milan Badelj stepped up for Croatia, but unbelievably it was Schmeichel again who made the save.
After four successive penalties tucked were tucked away, it was Subasic who looked to turn hero as he dived to his right to deny Ajax's Lasse Schone.
Josip Pivaric stepped up to extend Croatia's lead but, yes, Schmeichel was there to deny him again. However, Subasic was there to deny Denmark again.
The hopes of a nation sat on the shoulders of Ivan Rakitic. As ever, he kept his cool and slotted home to send Croatia through to the quarter finals at the end of a stunning night of football.