Russian Federation stun Spain on penalties to make last eight

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea

Russian Federation take on Spain on Sunday afternoon at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium after reaching the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time in the post-Soviet era. Was again slow to make changes in personnel, and the relatively positive impact made by the substitutes suggested they should have started.

A Russian header from corner struck Gerard Pique's outstretched arm inside the penalty area and Artem Dzyuba scored with the resulting spot-kick.

For the majority of the match, Spain looked in control, yet Sergei Ignashevich's 12th-minute own goal was the only breakthrough that they could manage. Coolly converted in the shootout, but this was a cruel end to his worldwide career. Nothing much was expected of this Russian team, reflected by their Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking, results in friendlies, and the absence of key players including striker Aleksandr Kokorin, but here they are on the brink of facing the victor of this afternoon's matchup between Croatia and Denmark. Calmly converted in the shootout. Russian Federation was ideal on all four attempts.

Spain, refusing to give up on its passing game for a more direct approach, continued its drilling of the opposition defence, but Russia's closing down of space left it with few openings to test Igor Akinfeev as the second session started in a similar pace. Safe and sound, but not penetrative, in possession.

"Thank God, we were lucky, that's it", Akinfeev said in his postmatch television interview.

Spain was more urgent in extra time after being too passive when it dominated the ball in the 90 minutes of regular time.




"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways so I didn't believe we should risk going forward", he said.

"I haven't felt such emotions in a long time, not only because of the football but in life in general".

Spain were able to control the tempo of the first half after taking an early lead, although they had little else to show for all their possession. Nearly set up a chance for Isco after the break, but "almost" was not really enough.

But Rakitic spared his team-mate in the shootout as Zlatko Dalic's side reached the last eight for the first time since 1998. Subs - Aspas 6, Iniesta 5, Carvajal 5, Rodrigo 7.

Isco - 8 - Spain's chief architect, and the side's emblematic player of the tournament so far, Isco was the standout player from this match as he dictated the tempo of play.

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