SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Playmaker Christian Erisken says he and his team mates let goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel down by missing their spot kicks as Denmark lost a penalty shootout 3-2 to Croatia following a 1-1 draw in their last 16 World Cup tie on Sunday.
Schmeichel saved a penalty from Luka Modric in extra time and stopped two more in the shootout, but three Danes, including Eriksen with the first kick, missed from the spot as their World Cup journey ended.
“We let Kasper down - when he saves two penalties, we should win,” Eriksen told reporters as the team prepared to depart form Russia.
“I will remember the World Cup because I missed that penalty kick. I’ll see that kick many times, it will not be easy to forget,” he added.
The 26-year-old returned to Denmark on Wednesday to be reunited with his partner Sabrina and their newborn son, and like many in the Danish squad he sees a bright future for the national side, despite their disappointing exit.
“Hopefully this will strengthen us, we have proved that we must be taken seriously at this level. We must be proud of what we have done - Denmark has not been here (in the knockout stage) for 16 years,” he said.
Defender Mathias Jorgensen was one of few players to talk to reporters after the team landed in Copenhagen to be greeted by around 200 fans at Kastrup Airport.
“We can look at this team, which is going to get even better still the next couple of years, so that’s what we can take with us right now,” Jorgensen said.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge