Russian Federation shoots out Spain to reach quarters

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Hosts Russia have reached the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup after beating Spain 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Spain's frustration going into the half-time undoubtedly motivated their much more positive start to the second period - with more purposeful crossing and penetration at goal, but still struggling to create tangible goal-scoring opportunities.

Akinfeev was the hero for Russian Federation, saving two spot kicks in the shootout, but he deserves acknowledgement as part of a wider defensive gameplan from the host nation.

Since the match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation time, the issue rolled into overtime.

And when Akinfeev stuck out his left foot to keep out a penalty kick from Spain's Iago Aspas in the stadium, he had done enough to capture the attention of all Russians and millions of television viewers globally.

"I believe that it's only the beginning so I have to save my emotions for the future", said Cherchesov, who at times gestured towards the crowd to lift the noise levels. Russian Federation seemed overwhelmed by the occasion for the first time this tournament, in this their first knock-out stage match at a World Cup since Mexico 1986. However, later it was announced that it was an own goal by Ignashevich, making the Russian defender the oldest player to score an own goal at the World Cup, FIFA said on their official website later.

It was the classic "tiki-taka" style that led to a World Cup title in 2010, bookended by a pair of European Championships.

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Mexico were much more aggressive in the first 15 minutes of the match, but Brazil were prepared for that. It was Brazil's 227th goal at the World Cup , meaning they overtake Germany as the all-time top scorers.

Hierro also faced questions on Spain's inability to open up a weak Russian Federation side, with their first genuine shot on target - their only goal was an own goal by Sergei Ignashevich - coming after 45 minutes.

Croatia beat Denmark in a dramatic penalty shootout on Sunday to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals. "Tonight, we were that team at the right place at the right time", added the coach, who had received a phone call from President Vladimir Putin a few hours before the game. Lopetegui was sacked because he didn't tell Spain's soccer leaders he accepted an offer to coach Real Madrid after the tournament. Andres Iniesta's introduction also altered the pattern of play, with Spain looking more confident after his entrance.

Spain made 1,137 passes and completed 1,029, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

However, Russia got a penalty five minutes before the break with Gerard Piquè penalised for a raised arm.

This impressive goalkeeping career ultimately earned him the honour of captaining his national team for the first World Cup on his home turf. Koke blazed over and Marco Asensio shot straight at Akinfeev after being played into space by Aspas. Russia, by comparison, scored all four of their efforts.

"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways, " he said. "Physiology comes first here and I hope our [quarter-final] opponents will play 120 minutes too".

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