Russian Federation beat Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Stanislav Cherchesov | Russia

In the penalty shootout, Koke and Iago Aspas missed their attempts for Spain while the Russians converted their first four spot kicks.

"We're hosting a fantastic tournament", Akinfeev said.

The 2010 World Cup champion is just among of the many top teams who have been eliminated from this year's competition.

It was a shocking elimination for Spain, joining former champions Germany and Argentina.

No problem - Akinfeev denied him with his foot, pushing the ball away, out of danger. The Atletico Madrid midfielder lifted his shirt over his eyes in dismay. "It was a single heart, and this heart was colored in our tricolor, the fans inspired us, nothing would have happened without their support", Akinfeev said in a video published on the Russian Football Union's YouTube channel. "One hero, for sure, is Akinfeev, who saved two of Spain's five penalties", states The New York Times. Tis team ended up taking no risks.

This moment of Russia equalizing at 1-1 brought the entire 78,000 crowd [VIDEO]at the Luzhnki Stadium in Moscow alive, as the Russians could feel that they were about to witness something special.

It was too passive a performance by the Spanish, who were ranked 10th and among the pre-tournament favorites.

Russia, who have played an attacking game right throughout the group stage, changed their style of play to defensive and the robust Russians looked resolute and formidable against the La Roja side which was high on confidence.

Isco's free-kick from deep on the right saw Ignashevich grappling with Ramos at the back post, the ball inadvertently bouncing past Akinfeev off the veteran defender's heel, although Spain's captain tried to claim the goal.

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Igor Akinfeev's penalty shootout saves ensure Russia's passage to the quarterfinals
Spain couldn't find a way through and in the end they were made to pay for that. Sergei Ignashevich scored his moments later, and the score remained 2-2.

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It is unclear if interim coach Fernando Hierro will continue in a job he did not seek before Julen Lopetegui was sent home.

Akinfeev denied Rodrigo in Spain's only real opportunity. Home supporters with red-white-and-blue wigs and painted faces seemed prepared for an unhappy ending out of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, especially after Marco Asensio's free kick ricocheted off a calf of defender Sergei Ignashevich in the 12th minute and past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for an own goal. The score was 1-1 at the end of regulation time in round of 16 game.

Spain, as is their wont, had all of the possession, with Russian Federation, already starting with a back five, pretty much putting every player behind the ball.

Spain were 1-0 up in the 11th minute when Russia's Sergey Ignashevich, under pressure from Sergio Ramos, diverted Nacho's free-kick into his own net, but Russian Federation drew level through Artem Dzyuba's penalty in the 40th minute.

Dzyuba hit the spot kick hard to David de Gea's right as the Spanish goalkeeper dived the wrong way.

There hasn't been a World Cup penalty shootout between two European teams since Italy beat France in the 2006 final. "We believed that order, discipline and dedication can beat class".

The match kicks off at the Luzhniki Stadium at 15:00 (BST).

World Cup history was made with the first use of a fourth substitute, which Federation Internationale de Football Association now allows teams in extra time.

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