World Cup Hosts Russia Knock Off Spain In Penalties

World Cup Hosts Russia Knock Off Spain In Penalties

World Cup Hosts Russia Knock Off Spain In Penalties

Russia's penalty shootout hero, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, thanked God, luck and the Luzhniki Stadium crowd for bringing the hosts home safely against Spain on Sunday to reach their first World Cup quarter-final since 1970.

Enjoying 79 percent of ball possession, Spain's famed midfield comprising Isco, Asensio, Koke and Sergio Busquets failed to breach the red wall in front of Akinfeev's goal.

Sergei Ignashevich - 5 - Sergio Ramos got the better of the veteran defender with 12 minutes on the clock, as the 38-year-old wrestled the Real skipper to the ground before his back leg deflected the ball into his own net.

Spain enjoyed the majority of the possession as half-time approached but were unable to penetrate Russia's well-organised defence and were punished in the 41st minute.

Rubiales sidestepped questions about who will be the coach long-term but Hierro is surely unlikely to continue.

Dzyuba's header off a corner hit Gerard Pique's arm and the striker converted the spot-kick that he had earned. They took the lead on 12 minutes through an own goal from Sergei Ignashevich, but Russian Federation equalized from an Artem Dzyuba penalty and kept the Spaniards at bay for the remainder of the game and extra time.

This match also witnessed history as Russian Federation became the first team in World Cups to make four substitutions.


Russian Federation were clearly happy to play for penalties at this point, but it was still notable how hard Spain found it to create good chances.

"We're having a fantastic World Cup".

Spain captain Iniesta saw his final World Cup outing end in defeat as Russian Federation stunned them to make the quarter-finals of the competition.

Preparing for their first major tournament shootout, it looked as if coach Stanislav Cherchesov might struggle to find five men with enough energy left to take a penalty. Dzyuba stepped up with confidence and dispatched the spot kick beyond David de Gea for an unlikely equaliser. He also ensured the game needed 30 extra minutes with back-to-back diving saves in the 85th to deny substitutes Iniesta and Aspas.

It was a pity that the last match of Andres Iniesta, who later confirmed his worldwide retirement, in the end became little more than a footnote. "The fact that the game will be at Luzhniki Stadium with nearly 80,000 people supporting us is probably the only good outcome from the fact we finished second in our group", said Ignashevich. "But there is a new generation, we have high-level players".

Later in Sochi, Ronaldo - who started the World Cup with a hat-trick against Spain - was powerless to prevent Portugal slipping out of the tournament as Edinson Cavani scored two brilliant goals in a 2-1 win to send the European champions home.

Spain made its extra substitution about seven minutes later when Rodrigo Moreno replaced Marco Asensio. "We have to get better, we haven't produced our best football", said Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

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