Host Russia extends World Cup party by eliminating Spain

02 July, 2018, 12:11 | Author: Heather Diaz
  • Fernando Hierro

Russian Federation advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1970 after defeating Spain 4-3 on penalties.

Koke's penalty was saved by Akinfeev and Golovin stepped up to smash home and give the hosts the advantage, but Ramos kept Spain in it before Cheryshev put the hosts on the brink of victory - and then Akinfeev saved Aspas' effort with his foot to send them through to the next round, where they will face Croatia. It was the first match of the tournament to go to penalty kicks. Cherchesov has masterminded a remarkable upturn in fortunes, with back-to-back wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt to launch their campaign sparking a wave of national euphoria. Apart from the own-goal on the night, the attempted clearance deflecting off Costa into Iran's goal was vital to their progression to the Round of Sixteen and they got out of jail in their final group stage encounter against Morocco.

Gerard Pique gifted Russian Federation the equaliser by using his hands to stop a header inside their box in the 41st minute.

Although Salah played and scored in the subsequent defeats to Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, the Pharaohs finished bottom of Group A with their star player unable to reproduce the form that had brought 44 goals in the 2017/18 season.

Russia's 4-3 penalty shootout triumph over Spain sees the hosts move on to the quarterfinals.

And it was those two who almost won it for Spain with five minutes to go, when first Iniesta and then Aspas fired shots at Akinfeev's goal - only for the skipper to parry both away.

"Now it's over and I'm thinking only about the next game".

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"My emotions are simple", he said. "It wasn't open football on our part".

"We are playing at home but I think the team is relaxed and very much ready to do a good job".

Spain joined fellow heavyweights Germany and Argentina in making a premature exit, raising questions as to the wisdom of sacking Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the competition.

But not many had sympathy for the Real Madrid defender.

Russian Federation produced the performance of the 2018 World Cup to knock Spain out of the tournament and progress through to the quarter-finals. "I accept the responsibility, I am the head coach". "We can't start finger-pointing at anyone and laying any blame here", he said. They need to enjoy the match and we need to give 200 percent. We made the decision we made. We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened.

With Russia withdrawing Dzyuba, the hosts played the last half hour of normal time without anyone left upfield as an outlet, with all 10 outfield players content to sit even deeper as Spain continued their possession domination.

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