Sports

Russian Federation stuns Spain on penalty kicks, advances at World Cup

Russian Federation stuns Spain on penalty kicks, advances at World Cup

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saves the last penalty shot by Spain's Iago Aspas during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 1, 2018.

When Russia's coach Stanislav Cherchesov told a battery of journalists on Saturday that anyone can be a god if he tries, he did not know that his words would inspire his own goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to produce an awe-inspiring performance that would take the home nation to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 48 years.

"I don't think you can talk about the team breaking down or there being any sort of collapse", the former Real Madrid captain said.

Spain dominated early possession but like in many matches it took a set piece to open the scoring.

A deep corner was met by Dzyuba, whose header struck the outstretched arm of Pique, with referee Bjorn Kuipers contemplating his decision before pointing to the spot.

Croatia reached the quarterfinals just like Russian Federation - on penalties after a 1-1 draw - but its win over Denmark was a very different game, and its style could hurt Russian Federation in Sochi on Saturday.

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It's the first official summit between the two powers, though they've met twice before on the sidelines of worldwide gatherings. Moscow said Trump had invited Putin for a summit at the White House but the focus has shifted to a meeting on neutral ground.

Akinfeev says, "We were hoping for penalties because Spain are hard to beat - Spain can't always be lucky".

Russian Federation were without Igor Smolnikov due to suspension and brought in Brazil-born Mario Fernandes to replace him at right wing-back.

Not many people would have expected Russian Federation to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with a game to spare, but this is exactly what they were able to do following two impressive performances.

The victory didn't come easy for the Russians as they made a awful error early by giving Spain the lead courtesy of an own goal in the 12th-minute.

De Gea got a hand to Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov, but proved unable to keep it out. We said because of the World Cup that we need to unite.

The record had been held by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares who scored into his own net in the 2014 World Cup match against France at the age of 37 years and 43 days.

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The letter also said any auto tariffs would "damage further the reputation" of the U.S. , according to the FT. Mr Trump has threatened to impose a 20 per cent levy on cars from the EU.

But mistake him not for a one-hit wonder, Akinfeev has been at the helm of the Russian football since 2004, accumulating over 110 worldwide caps-second only to fellow CSKA Moscow superstar Sergei Ignashevich- in the process.

The second day of the knockout phase starts with 2010 champions, Spain, facing the host country, Russia, at 4 p.m.

The two sides met in a friendly last November, a game which ended in a frantic 3-3 draw, although many things have changed since then, particularly after Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament, replaced by Fernando Hierro.

La Roja's best chance came through Andreas Iniesta, who was a substitute for the first time in the tournament.

The king heads FIFA's list of VIP guests for the round of 16 game, which also includes Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Koke and Iago Aspas were denied by the Russian Federation goalkeeper as 2010 champions Spain, who dominated possession without creating clear chances, were defeated 4-3 on penalties.

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A video review reversed the decision to award a penalty kick and Neymar's frustrations a few minutes later led to a yellow card. Former Manchester United player Eric Cantona devoted several social media posts to ridiculing the Brazilian in recent days.

Dzyuba converted from the spot and it proved to be a costly mistake from the Barcelona defender as the rest of the match turned into defense versus attack with Russia's defenders, ultimately, coming out on top.


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