RUSSIA – Host nation Russia beat Spain in a penalty shootout to move into the World Cup quarter-finals and knock out the 2010 winners.
Iago Aspas’ penalty was saved by Igor Akinfeev to hand Russia victory after a match that Spain had completely dominated.
Akinfeev said Russia’s game plan had been to hold on for a penalty shootout.
Spain dominated the last-16 match but after centre-back Sergei Ignashevich gifted them the opening goal on 12 minutes, Russia drew level when Artem Dzyuba converted a penalty awarded for a handball by Gerard Pique shortly before half-time.
Despite overwhelming Spanish possession, the 2010 winners were unable to break down the Russian defence even after extra-time.
Akinfeev saved Koke’s penalty to give Russia the advantage. After Denis Cheryshev converted his spot kick, Akinfeev stopped Iago Aspas’s effort with his legs to spark mass celebrations in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
“We were hoping for penalties,” Akinfeev said.
“We are having a fantastic World Cup. Not just our fans, but the fans of other countries are getting a sense of this atmosphere and understood that Russians really know how to play football and want to play football.”
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said: “We spent two years working on this and did a good job.”
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