Akinfeev says fans inspired the team against Spain

04 July, 2018, 08:22 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • Cheryshev says Russia can hurt Spain

Igor Akinfeev was Russia's hero after saving two penalties in a shoot-out to sensationally dump Spain out of the World Cup and book the hosts a place in the quarter-finals after a 1-1 draw in Moscow.

"The football god always seemed to be turning away from us, and I think today it's like never before", Dzyuba said.

After Artem Dzyuba's penalty had cancelled out the own goal from Sergei Ignashevich that opened the scoring, Russian Federation spent most of the game on the defensive, maintaining a rigid structure that Spain's tiki-taka was powerless to penetrate.

Russian Federation now meet Croatia or Denmark Saturday in Sochi, the first quarter-final since the Soviet Union played - and lost - against Uruguay 1970 in Mexico.

As was the case from roughly half-time-ish onwards, penalties were inevitable and, after Koke had missed earlier in the shootout, a flailing foot from Akinfeev was enough to deny Iago Aspas and send Russian Federation through to the quarters...

"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways, " he said.

Iniesta also played a huge role in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph.

De Gea got a hand to Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov, but proved unable to keep it out.

Spain has had a hard time playing against host nations in the history of the World Cup.


Russia's goalkeeper then brilliant stopped Iago Aspas with his feet to knock Spain out.

He then roared on his teammates from the substitute's bench as they kept the 120-minute match deadlocked before claiming the penalty shootout 4-3 against their heavily favoured opponents.

As his players were still partying in the dressing room and Russians were flooding into Red Square to celebrate Sunday's win on penalties over Spain, Cherchesov rattled through a list of upcoming medical tests, tactical sessions and squad selection decisions.

Mathias Jorgensen gave Denmark the lead after just 58 seconds, but Mario Mandzukic levelled for Croatia in the fourth minute and the sides remained locked at 1-1 at the end of extra time.

The Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2018 begins this Saturday. They had a rare chance to break the deadlock in the 85th minute when Aspas chested a Jordi Alba cross into the path of Iniesta, whose shot forced a lunging save from Akinfeev.

Spain finished the half with a burst of activity, registering a couple of efforts, but the next 40 minutes were turgid, a state of affairs not helped by the 25-degree temperature. Second-ranked Brazil play Mexico in Monday's early game, while No.3 Belgium face Japan immediately after.

Meanwhile, Iniesta will be hanging up his boots following Spain's elimination loss to Russian Federation.

In pretty much his only action before the shootout, goalkeeper David De Gea dived right as the Dzyuba's third goal of the tournament went to his left. The 34-year-old Barcelona midfielder came off the bench and nearly won the game with an 85th-minute shot well saved by Akinfeev.

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