Russian Federation stun Spain on penalties to make last eight
Jul 02 2018
This will go down as one of the biggest shocks of the tournament, with Spain failing to make their dominance of possession count as Russian Federation held firm and stuck to their defensive gameplan. While Russia arrived at the finals win-less in eight months before finding some badly-needed form, one of their better results in that period came in a 3-3 draw with Spain last November.
A few weeks ago, Spain vs Russian Federation would have been a serious mismatch but what difference a month makes in football.
Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament, sending Spain keeper David de Gea the wrong way to equalise and awaken the subdued 78,000 crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. But after consulting VAR the referee ruled out a penalty.
Fernando Hierro's side started positively at Luzhniki Stadium and broke the deadlock as Sergei Ignashevich directed the ball into his own net from a free-kick. His shot from a tight angle forces Akinfeev into a save!
The extra defensive duties offered by the two newcomers allowed Spain to control the game with its midfield purring on to control 75 percent of possession, but the team had only three shots on target to show for its trouble (in the first half). Spain's first corner of the match followed after 59 minutes, but Isco's cross was headed away by Dzubya. Subs - Granat 5, Smolov 6, Cheryshev 6, Erokhin 5.
And from it, they won a penalty when Dzubya leapt to win the ball and it hit Pique's raised hand - and after a moment's hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot and booked the defender.
With neither side able to break the deadlock they went into extra time level at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Neither side could find a victor after full-time and the match entered 30 minutes of extra-time.
Andres Iniesta put the hosts ahead 1-0 from the spot, but Fyodor Smolov returned fire for Russian Federation despite a hand from David De Gea in goal. Incredible! Akinfeev has saved Koke's spot kick!
Aspas almost picked out Carvajal with a cut-back seconds into the start of extra time, which saw Aleksandr Erokhin come on as Russia´s fourth sub - the first time the rule has been applied at the World Cup.
Iago Aspas then saw his effort from 12 yards saved by the brilliant Igor Akinfeev as Russian Federation progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.