Russian Federation beat Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Dominic Ebenbichler  Reuters

Aleksandr Golovin then slid his shot underneath a diving De Gea to put Russian Federation in front.

As rain came down, each team made its first two kicks in the shootout, but Akinfeev dived right and with a two-handed punch stopped Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion.

Saving two penalties in the shoot-out guaranteed that goalkeeper Akinfeev would be named man of the match but he had already thwarted Spain with several fine saves in regular and extra time.

The winners face Croatia or Denmark in the quarter-finals. But his team ended up taking no risks.

It gave Russian Federation its greatest win in global soccer for 10 years, since Akinfeev was in goal for an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in a European Championship quarterfinal.

When Spain made a mistake, Russian Federation tried to counter quickly, often working to set up corner kicks aimed toward Dzyuba.

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. "We left our soul in the pitch".

Spain, despite a chaotic build-up to the tournament in which coach Julen Lopetegu was sacked and replaced by Fernando Hierro on the eve of the tournament, had shown enough in the group stage to suggest they were still contenders. The defeat also marked the end a of glittering global career for Andres Iniesta, who was brought on midway through the second half for his 131st and final Spain appearance.

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Sergei Ignashevich, Aleksandr Golovin and Chernyshev all followed suit as Akinfeev saved from Koke. Smolov and Ignashevich both scored for Russian Federation, while Pique scored for Spain keeping the shootout open at 2-2 with each left with three shots.

Sergei Ignashevich had unwittingly handed the 2010 champions a 12th-minute lead after tussling with Sergio Ramos, only for Artem Dzyuba to cancel out the own goal with a well-struck penalty (41) after Gerard Pique was punished for handball. They put on a very strong second half display in the thrilling 3-3 opener with Portugal, bar a few mistakes from individuals in the first half.

Russian Federation won a corner through Spanish confusion in defense in the 41st minute, and Alexander Samedov hit the ball for Dzyuba, who headed it straight into Gerard Pique's waving arm.

"The most important thing for us is that the whole country is proud of us so a huge thank you", Dzyuba said. "We believed that order, discipline and dedication can beat class".

Mighty Spain dominated the field at Luzhniki Stadium, dulled the senses with mind-numbing ball movement around the perimeter of the penalty area Sunday.

For the first time in a World Cup, teams will be allowed to make a fourth substitution in extra time.

"I spoke with every player individually more than I had in the past and I had to explain to them why, where, what, and it has worked out as you see".

De Gea made one save at the entire World Cup, and none Sunday when Artyom Dzyuba's 41st-minute penalty was Russia's only shot on target.

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