Igor Akinfeev the hero as Russian Federation dump Spain out after penalty shootout

02 July, 2018, 04:03 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Stanislav Cherchesov | Russia

The host team won an astonishing upset victory over Spain by prevailing in a penalty shootout.

Hosts Russia must rebound quickly for Sunday's World Cup last 16 clash with Spain, the 2010 champions who have slipped under the radar after a tumultuous start to the tournament.

Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.

He saved Koke's effort to hand Russian Federation the advantage and then, denied Iago Aspas to awaken the subdued 78,000 crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

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.

Artem Dzyuba, the lone centre-forward whose thankless task it was to try and punish Spain on Russia's few breaks, was less restrained.




Sergio Ramos was understandably gutted after the game, but despite the result, he was happy with how his side performed in defeat.

This match also witnessed history as Russian Federation became the first team in World Cups to make four substitutions. "We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened, thank God", the keeper said. "We didn't play quite the way we wanted but it's hard when you don't have the ball and you spend that much time defending".

The noisy 78,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium has been good for Russian Federation at this tournament, which kicked off here with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Had one half-chance early in second half, which he kneed straight to goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Attention now turns to the 7pm kick-off between Denmark and Croatia.

The host's only way to the game was set pieces and the Spanish goalkeeper, David De Gea, was soon beaten when Dzyuba converted a penalty in the 42nd minute after Gerard Pique used his dangling arm to block the goal-scorer's header from an Alexander Samedov corner.

Spain followed suit as Rodrigo replaced Asensio, and the former went closest to ending the impasse, sprinting towards goal after a clever dummy only for Akinfeev to claw his shot away before the rebound from Koke was blocked. "He told me that he will play in the match against Spain, if not in the starting line-up then as a substitute", TASS quoted Dzagoev's father Tarel as saying.

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