Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

Russian Federation beats Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Russian Federation beats Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Russian Federation shockingly eliminated Spain from the World Cup, surviving two hours of dominance by the 2010 champions in a 1-1 draw, and then winning a penalty shootout 4-3.

That was until the 85th minute, when after almost 30 minutes without a significant chance on goal, Iniesta stung the palms of Igor Akinfeev, who completed a fine double save to deny Iago Aspas on the follow up, sending the tie into extra time.

Mighty Spain dominated the field at Luzhniki Stadium, dulled the senses with mind-numbing ball movement around the perimeter of the penalty area Sunday.

Luckily Russia was fortunate to equalize after Gerard Pique played the ball off his hand leading to spot kick, cooly taken by Russia's unsung hero of the tournament, Artem Dzyuba.

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.

Both the goals came in the first half.

Spain have been knocked out of this year's World Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to host nation Russian Federation on Sunday afternoon.

"Yes, he always made little mistakes, but I think he still has time to write his name into history", former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said about Igor Akinfeev when asked about Akinfeev's chances in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Spain were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup on Sunday afternoon.

They will play either Croatia and Denmark in the quarter-finals in Sochi on Saturday.

Isco produced a series of regal touches with Spain's King Felipe VI among those in the crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium, but Russian Federation equalised shortly before half-time.

"In 2008, 2010 and 2012 we had the players we had and we played in a style no-one had before", Hierro said when asked about those great tournament-winning Spain teams and what had changed since then.

Russian Federation extended a streak of World Cup hosts winning penalty shootouts to five. "Yes, we need to defend but we need to attack more".

More than 74 per cent possession, an astonishing 1,137 passes and utter territorial domination, yet the only statistic that counted in the end for Spain was the two penalties they missed after they strangled themselves out of the World Cup.

"Honestly, before the tournament I had very low expectations, everyone was just hoping to God that we would get out of the group stage". Iniesta, 34, said this defeat was his finale.

"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways so I didn't believe we should risk going forward", he said. Hernandez is 38 and left the national team after Spain's first-round elimination in 2014. While Russia arrived at the finals win-less in eight months before finding some badly-needed form, one of their better results in that period came in a 3-3 draw with Spain last November.

When Ignashevich wrestled with Ramos for Marcos Asensio's cross on 11 minutes and deflected the ball in, Spain might have expected their opponents to abandon their conservative gameplan.

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