Russia in World Cup quarter-finals after beating Spain
Russia has condemned Spain to an early exit from the 2018 World Cup after beating the European soccer powerhouse on penalty shootout.
The Russians secured a place in the quarter-finals of the games they are hosting after beating Spain 4-3 on penalties on Sunday at Moscow’s “Luzhniki” Stadium, PressTV reported.
An own goal by Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich in the 12th minute and a penalty kick from Artem Dzyuba, which came after Spain’s Gerard Pique’s handball in the box, gave the two teams a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
The Spaniards controlled much of the game but failed to reach the box with their famed tiki-taka passing method. In fact, Spain’s number of passes in the game was more than four times higher than those of Russia. However, that was not enough to end Spain’s curse of never beating the host at World Cups or Euros.
Keeper Akinfeev was Russian’s hero at Luzhniki as he denied efforts from Andres Iniesta in the second half and from Rodrigo in the extra time. Akinfeev completed his brilliant evening when he saved Koke’s and Iago Aspas’ spot kicks in Russia’s first ever penalty shootout in the World Cup.
The Russians, seen by many as underdogs before the tournament opened, will play either Croatia or Denmark in the quarter-finals. The two teams face each other in the other clash of the round of 16 later on Sunday.
The state-of-the-art Luzhniki which hosted Russia’s game versus Spain will accommodate the World Cup final on July 15. The quarter-finals will begin on Friday three days after teams end the round of 16.