Hosts Russia defeat powerhouse Spain in World Cup shootout
02 July, 2018, 09:33 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
The host team won an astonishing upset victory over Spain by prevailing in a penalty shootout.
"I'm not the man of the match, the man of the match is our team and our fans", said Akinfeev, after each converted penalty, and his saves from Koke and Iago Aspas, were greeted with a deafening roar from a crowd of 78 011 at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Spain had taken the lead when Marco Asensio's curling free-kick into the six-yard area hit the ankle of Sergei Ignashevich, who was marking Sergio Ramos, and flew into the net.
Russia's awareness of their own limitations helped thwart and frustrate Spain for 120 minutes as despite enjoying just 26 percent possession they held out for penalties after a 1-1 draw.
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Spain were dominating possession in the first ten minutes of the encounter but they were prevented from creating clear chances by a robust Russian Federation defence.
The most wide open World Cup for decades continues to spring surprises with Sunday's elimination of Spain being the latest headline grabber.
Spain crashed out of the World Cup in Moscow on Sunday, beaten on penalties after hosts Russian Federation had frustrated them for 120 minutes with a resilient defensive effort.
Preparing for their first major tournament shootout, it looked as if coach Stanislav Cherchesov might struggle to find five men with enough energy left to take a penalty.
Chelsea midfielder Fabregas has won one World Cup and two European Championships with the Spanish national team. "We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened, thank God", Akinfeev said.
"Andres Iniesta, his last game probably, for Barcelona, for Spain, now going to Japan".
However, Iniesta's effort was parried away by Igor Akinfeev and extra time was called in Moscow.
The CSKA Moscow goalkeeper has been a regular for his national team since making his worldwide debut fourteen years ago and while the 32-year old has more clean sheets than any other Russian goalkeeper in history, his club record in European tournaments has been not quite up to the mark.
First Germany, then Lionel Messi's Argentina, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.
Akinfeev saved two shots during the shootout, while all of his teammates scored to give Russian Federation a 4-3 advantage after a draw that was dominated by Spain in every way but the 1-1 score.
Indeed, we think the general reaction to the full-time whistle was eloquently summed up by this member of the Russian team staff...
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