World Cup hosts Russia reach quarter-finals after penalty victory over Spain

World Cup hosts Russia reach quarter-finals after penalty victory over Spain
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev of Russia saves the penalty of Iago Aspas of Spain during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Spain and Russia in Moscow, Russia, 01 July 2018.

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Jul 01, 2018. 18:56

Spain suffered a shock defeat to Russia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup the Round of 16 match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

Russia's Golden Eagles won 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 stalemate and they progressed into the quarter-finals, while the Red Fury of Spain are eliminated from the tournament.

The Red Fury dominated the match from the start as they kept possession well in the opposition's half and they deservedly opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the game.

Spain full-back Jose Nacho was fouled by Russia left-back Yuri Zhirkov on the right-hand side and Spain were awarded a free-kick.

The ball was whipped in towards the back post and it deflected off Russia defender Sergei Ignashevich, who scored an own goal to make it 1-0 to Spain.

The Red Fury then continued to dominate possession, but they were struggled to penetrate the Golden Eagles defence which looked organized and solid.

The Golden Eagles were happy to sit back and play long balls for their towering targetman Artem Dzyuba.

Zhirkov tried to find Dzyuba with a cross in the 24th minute, but Spain's anchorman Sergio Busquets was well-positioned to make a clearance.

Russia grew in confidence as the game progressed and they had a chance to score seven minutes after the half-hour mark.

The ball broke to Aleksander Golovin after Dzyuba had bullied Ramos, but the Russia attacker curled the ball narrowly wide of the target and the Red Fury survived a scare.

The Golden Eagles were then awarded a penalty in the 40th minute after Gerald Pique adjudged to have handled the ball from a Russia corner-kick.

Dzyuba then stepped up and beat Spain goalkeeper David De Gea from the spot-kick to make it 1-1 for Russia much to the delight of the Golden Eagles supporters.

Spain tried to push for their second goal, but Russia stood firm at the back until Dutch match Bjorn Kuipers referee blew the half-time whistle, and the two teams were locked at 1-1 at the interval.

The Red Fury were the better side after the restart and they nearly scored through their speedy full-back Jordi Alba in the 48th minute.

Nacho played a cross towards Alba at the back post inside the Russia box, but Alba could only chest the ball towards goal and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev made a comfortable save.

Akinfeev and Ilya Kutepov then combined to block Spain midfielder Isco's cut-back pass in the 59th minute as the Red Fury continued to pile pressure on the Golden Eagles' backline.

Spain head coach Fernando Hierro decided to introduce veteran playmaker Andres Iniesta in the 67th minute as the 2010 World Cup looked to restore their lead.

Hierro's side piled pressure on the Russia defence with Kutepov working tirelessly at the heart of the tournament hosts' defence.

Iniesta had a chance to snatch a late winning goal with five minutes left, but the Spain midfield maestro's effort was well-saved by Akinfeev, who also denied Aspas from the rebound.

Russia were able to contain Spain in stoppage time until Kuipers blew the full-time whistle and extra-time followed.

The Red Fury did most of the attacking in the first-half of extra-time, but Akinfeev continued to frustrate the Spanish as he denied substitute Rodrigo with a good save in the 105th minute.

Brazil-born Rodrigo was looking lively for Spain and forced Russia's inspirational captain Akinfeev into a great save after beating his marker four minutes after the restart.

Ankifeev then made another good save to deny the Spain striker to ensure that game ended in a 1-1 stalemate, and penalty shootout followed.

Russia went on to win 4-3 on penalties after Akinfeev proved to be the hero - denying Koke and Iago Aspas from the spot-kick.

Spain (1) 1 (Ignashevich 12')
Russia (1) 1 (Dzyuba 42')

Russia won 4-3 on penalties

Spain: De Gea, Nacho (Carvajal 69'), Pique, Ramos, Alba, Koke, Busquets, Asensio (Rodrigo 104'), Silva (Iniesta 67'), Costa (Aspas 79'), Isco.

Russia: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Kudryashov, Zhirkov (Granat 46') Zobnin, Samedov (Cherychev 60'), Kuzyaev (Yerokhin 97'), Golovin, Dzyuba (Smolov 65').



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