Russian Federation hero Igor Akinfeev - 'We were lucky' to beat Spain on penalties


Russian Federation hero Igor Akinfeev - 'We were lucky' to beat Spain on penalties

Russian Federation captain Igor Akinfeev saved two penalties in a dramatic shootout as the World Cup hosts dumped title contenders Spain out in the last 16 following a 1-1 draw.

Spain's Koke fails to score by penalty kick during the round of 16 match against Russian Federation in Moscow on July 1, 2018. In the end, the 2010 World Cup winners were made to pay for their lack of ruthlessness. With Sergio Ramos and Sergei Ignashevich tangling at the doorstep and going to ground, the ball hit off the Russian Federation defender, whose back was to the play, and in for the own goal, giving La Furia Roja a 1-0 edge. It was the first match of the tournament to go to penalty kicks. Iniesta also scored the first spot-kick of the shootout.

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Everyone inside the Luzhniki Stadium, and all those watching at home, held their breath as the referee and the VAR team checked footage for holding on Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos late on in extra time. Do Spain have reason to be upset?

Russia's defence was almost superhuman as they closed down the more talented Spaniards without flagging for 120 minutes, maintaining their shape and never allowing themselves to be exposed even when they mounted a rare counterattack. But Spain were unable to conquer a curse that has haunted them since 1934. Akinfeev will make the front pages tomorrow, but his whole defensive line warrant praise.

Spain coach Fernando Hierro chose to field Sergio Busquets and Koke in front of the defence with David Silva, Isco and Marco Asensio ahead of them and Diego Costa as the lone centre forward.

FW Rodrigo Moreno, 7 - The fourth sub in extra time provided a rare spark of imagination with a dummy nutmeg to set himself up for forcing Akinfeev's most hard save of the game.

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Yuri Zhirkov gave away a free kick when he fouled Nacho on the right and, when Aesnsio curled the cross in, Ignashevish tangled with Sergio Ramos at the far post and the ball flew in off the defender.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia have never beaten Spain (D2 L4).

"In the second half, we were trying to defend". After Denis Cheryshev converted his spot kick, Akinfeev stopped Iago Aspas's effort with his legs to spark mass celebrations in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russian Federation tried to hit back when Zhirkov got down the left, but the move fizzled out as home fans at the Luzhniki Stadium tried to digest their side's early setback.

The second game of the day got off to a blistering start in Nizhny Novgorod. His shot from a tight angle forces Akinfeev into a save!

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