Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties to reach World Cup quarterfinals
03 July, 2018, 08:31 | Author: Candice Daniels
Akinfeev saved Spain's last penalty, taken by Aspas, with his feet to send Russian Federation through.
The hosts stuck to what you might call a "stubborn" game plan against the 2010 champions, packing their defensive and watched on from a distance as Spain amassed thousands of completed passes in the middle third - patient, attritional and superior in their minds; completely ineffective in reality.
Russian Federation also were toothless up front until Gerard Pique's handball gave them a chance to level with a penalty in the 41st minute.
The 38-year-old was so intent on preventing Spain'sSergio Ramos from getting on the end of Isco's free-kick, he lost sight of the ball before unwittingly turning it into his own net. Dzyuba stepped up with confidence and dispatched the spot kick beyond David de Gea for an unlikely equaliser.
Russian Federation bundle Spain out of the World Cup after penalty shootout drama.
Throughout, Spain controlled the game as expected, but struggled to create genuine chances. "We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened, thank God", Akinfeev said. The hosts continued their winning run and outplayed Egypt 3-1 in their next match.
Fernando Hierro made the bold decision to drop Andres Iniesta for Koke in central midfield, with Marco Asensio handed his first start of the competition.
For Russia's part, the hosts look to be setting up a 3-4-3 against La Furia Roja, which signals the first time they have deviated from their 4-2-3-1 since the start of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Spain who had 73% possession and 15 shots on target are taking the plane back home. The king is a soccer fan who, as crown prince, attended the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg to see Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time.
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.
This Russian team, on the other hand, still have history to make and with big names falling by the wayside on an nearly daily basis, they must now be considered serious contenders for a return to the Luzhniki Stadium in the semi-final and perhaps even the final. The referee has awarded a spot kick to the hosts.
Akinfeev snuffed out an opening for Diego Costa on the stroke of halftime as the Spain striker tried to latch onto a through ball.
Cherchesov introduced Cheryshev for Alexander Samedov on the hour, a move greeted by a deafening roar from the home support.
His despair was therefore understandable when he missed a penalty three minutes from the end of extra-time that could have cost Croatia a place in the last eight. Russian Federation - the lowest ranked team in the World Cup at No. 70 in the world - is stunningly going to the quarterfinals to face Croatia on Saturday.
Akinfeev was up to the task in the closing stages as he dived to his right to prevent Andres Iniesta from picking out the bottom corner of the net from 19 yards out and then pushed away the rebound from Aspas on 85 minutes.
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