NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel says he is proud of his team despite of their failure to reach the World Cup quarterfinals after a disappointing loss to Croatia here on Sunday.
After a 120-minute draw, the Danish lost 3-2 to Croatia in a thrilling penalty shootout, in which the Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties and Schmeichel stopped two.
Schmeichel was chosen as the man of the match for his superb saves. "Today we had opportunities, and we were better in the second half and in the extra time. But we didn't have the luck. It is difficult to accept that and to put it into words," Schmeichel said at a post-match conference.
"It's a strange feeling, [a] huge disappointment, but also enormous pride about our team, not only the 11 people on the pitch, but also everyone involved or working for the team," the 31-year-old said.
When asked about whether he felt let down by teammates who missed the penalties in the shootout, Schmeichel said that anyone who stood up and took the penalty is a hero to him and has his respect. "We win, we lose, as a team. This is a fantastic team, which I'm proud of. It's important that we remember this feeling, and we use it in the future," he said.
During extra time, Schmeichel saved a Luka Modric penalty and prevented Croatia from winning the game before the lottery of a penalty shootout. He said after the game that the save was made with intuition, "with what I felt at that moment; unfortunately it was not enough in the end."
Although the team will not continue their World Cup campaign, Schmeichel thanked the hosts for organizing such a good tournament. "Everywhere we went, we were treated very well. The pitch, the stadium, the fans...everything is fantastic. It was upsetting that we are not going to experience this anymore," he said.
Schmeichel was watched by his father and former Denmark and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.