Russian Federation clinch tie in penalties

Tanya Simon
July 1, 2018

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said Russia's game plan had been to hold on for a penalty shootout after the host nation beat Spain on spot-kicks Sunday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Veteran Russia centre-back Sergei Ignashevich gifted Spain the opening goal on 12 minutes in Moscow when he unwittingly turned into his own net after grappling with Sergio Ramos.

Spain took the lead in the 13th minute on an Asensio set piece.

Igor Akinfeev was Russia's hero after saving penalties from Koke and Iago Aspas as 2010 champions Spain, who dominated possession without creating clear chances, were defeated 4-3 on penalties after the game had finished 1-1.

Russian Federation will meet either Croatia or Denmark for a place in the semi-finals, as Spain's rotten run against hosts nation at major tournaments continued.

Spain pushed and prodded as the game moved into this World Cup's first extra-time, but the home defence had its men behind, allowing the ball-players little room to maneuver.

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A right-wing Isco cross isolated Ignashevich and Sergio Ramos at the back post, the Russian Federation defender turning the ball home via his heel as he desperately tried to block his opponent's run. Suddenly, Russia are brimming with confidence and Spain look patchy at best.

However, Russia got a penalty five minutes before the break with Gerard Piquè penalised for a raised arm.

Pique was subsequently yellow carded and Dzyuba made no mistake from the spot, drilling the ball into the bottom corner for his third goal of the tournament.

Spain picked up where they let off after the restart with Jordi Alba getting on the end of a cross from the right, but the full-back's effort was tame and straight at Akinfeev.

Their match against Spain didn't exactly get off to a dream start.

Russian Federation endured a tense wait when Kuipers was in communication with the video assistant referee following a late tug on Pique in the box, before Akinfeev's shootout heroics clinched an unforgettable triumph.

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