Russia bundles out Spain after shootout in Moscow epic
SPAIN 1 (Ignashevich 12’ og)
RUSSIA 1 (Dzyuba 41’ pen)
RUSSIA WIN 4-3 ON PENALTIES
By Sam Burge
Russia has bundled out the highly-fancied Spain after a dramatic penalty shootout to continue an unlikely fairy-tale.
The hosts now book their spot in the quarter-finals where they will face Croatia who beat Denmark in a penalty shootout of their own.
Russian captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was the hero saving two penalties in the shootout and making nine saves throughout the extra time epic.
— FIFA World Cup ???? (@FIFAWorldCup) July 1, 2018
It was a match which Spain dominated possession wise (75 per cent) but Russia perhaps looked the more dangerous when attacking on the counter.
Spain opened the scoring after a Marco Asensio free kick looked to be tapped in by a falling Sergio Ramos.
However Russian defender Sergey Ignashevich was the man who got the main touch on the ball, making it the 10th own goal of the tournament.
The goal allowed Spain to play their possession-based, but not overly-threatening, game which was probably to their detriment.
And they were made to pay for not turning their domination into goals when Russia equalised just before half-time when an Alexander Samedov corner was headed by Artem Dzyuba in to the raised arm of Spanish defender Gerard Pique.
The referee pointed to the spot and Dzyuba stepped up to put away the 26th penalty of the tournament.
The second half was similar to the first with Spain dominating possession and Russia sitting back defensively.
Spain began to chase the game when Andres Iniesta came on and although at his creative best, even he could not help the Spaniards find the winner in normal time.
In extra-time it was evident that Russia was content on going to penalties and while
Spain peppered Akinfeev throughout the extra 30 minutes, this match was destined for a dramatic conclusion in the shootout.
Iniesta stepped up first and netted coolly and Smolov replied although De Gea got a large piece of the ball.
Pique made up for his earlier handball to score his penalty while Ignashevich did the same, making up for his earlier own goal.
Spanish midfielder Koke’s penalty was saved to give the Russians the upper hand, which star playmaker Golovin consolidated with his penalty.
Sergio Ramos capped off a fine, all-round performance by converting his penalty but the Russians held their nerve with Cheryshev making it four-from-four.
It was up to Aspas to keep Spain alive but Akinfeev came up with a miraculous save with his foot to send the crowd into raptures and the Spanish on their way home.
Crowd: 78,011 Luzhniki Stadium
Spain: David De Gea (gk), Nacho (70’), Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos (C), Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Koke, Isco, Marco Asensio (104’), David Silva (67’), Diego Costa (80’)
Substitutes: Carvajal (70’), Iniesta (67’), Rodrigo (104’), Aspas (80’)
Russia: Igor Akinfeev (C) (gk), Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Fedor Kudriashov, Yury Zhirkov (46’), Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuziaev (97’), Alexander Samedov (61’), Aleksandr Golovin, Artem Dzyuba (65’)
Substitutes: Cheryshev (61’), Smolov (65’), Granat (46’), Erokhin (97’)