Russian Federation knocks out Spain in World Cup penalty shootout

Igor Russak  Global Look Press

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.

"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 was cautious to the extreme, passing the ball more than 1,029 times successfully, but rarely near the Russian goal.

Sergei Ignashevich's own goal at a free kick gave Spain the lead in the 12th minute but Artyom Dzyuba leveled with a penalty in the 41st after Gerard Pique handled the ball. Although Spain got an early lead due to some freaky defending of Sergei Ignashevich, which resulted in an own goal, the lead did not last too long and Gerard Pique gave away a penalty in very dramatic fashion, which was later converted by Artem Dzyuba, thus bringing Russian Federation back on level terms.

The World Cup's lowest-ranked team now advances a quarterfinal against Croatia or Denmark in Sochi on Sunday.

"We did everything possible", said Spain captain Sergio Ramos, who scored his penalty. "They need to enjoy the match and their national team".

"The Spanish squad is a very outstanding team, which play in a total control of the ball", Samedov said.

A member of the Lev Yashin Club-an unofficial list of Soviet and Russian football goalkeepers that have achieved 100 or more clean sheets during their professional career- Akinfeev has the most number of clean sheets than any other goalkeeper, making him the greatest shot-stopper in the history of Russia.

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Spain deserved more from the 120 minutes.

Russian Federation defeated Spain 4-3 on penalties after the teams were level at 1-1 after extra time. Spain's then-coach, Julen Lopetegui, was sacked two days before this year's World Cup after agreeing to take the Real Madrid job, and Fernando Hierro stepped in to take charge.

"At that time, Spanish teams were favourites, but as we say in Russian Federation, anyone can be god if he tries to", he said.

It was the fifth time in a row a World Cup host nation has won a penalty shootout, Federation Internationale de Football Association said. We tried to bet on them getting exhausted, had five or six clear opportunities to score, and conceded very few, apart from the penalty.

Spain were not at their fluent best during the group stage as they overcame the departure of manager Julen Lopetegui two days before the tournament.

Before the game, he had compared Russia's qualification from the group stage to a fairytale, and the fans echoed that with a vast banner reading: "You were born to make the fairytale real".

Dzyuba hit the spot kick hard to David de Gea's right as the Spanish goalkeeper dived the wrong way.

Yuri Zhirkov brought down Nacho on Spain's right wing, and Asensio's free-kick sailed to the far post where it was deflected into the net by the veteran Ignashevich who had only paid attention to Spain captain Ramos.

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