Russia shock Spain in World Cup last-16
Posted: 1 July 2018 Time: 14:31
Russia defied the odds with a resilient performance to see off Spain 4-3 on penalties to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.
The unfancied hosts were the clear underdogs heading into the clash but were desperate to prove the naysayers wrong.
The deadlock was broken after a free-kick from the right was bundled off the heel by Russia's Sergei Ignasevich following a tangle with Sergio Ramos for an own-goal on 11 minutes.
Aleksandr Golovin was metres away from pulling the hosts level after veering through the box, but he curled agonisingly wide after 25 minutes.
The scoreboard was eventually levelled from the spot after Gerard Pique was penalised for handling from a corner, and Artem Dzyuba lined up from 12-yards and sent David De Gea the wrong before tucking home a powerful shot on 42 minutes.
A minute into first-half stoppage time, Diego Costa aimed to reclaim the lead for La Roja but, after beating the offside trap, he was unable to get past Igor Akinfeev.
The second half started with Spain remaining unchanged while the hosts made one alteration following the introduction of Vladimir Granat for Yuri Zhirkov.
The 2010 world champions almost regained the lead in extraordinary circumstances as Jordi Alba tried to poke home with his knee but Akinfeev outstretched himself to block the effort.
As the game went through a slump, it came alive when La Roja came close to going back in front with a shot on the edge of the box from Iniesta that was parried by the keeper, with Iago Aspas unable to bury the follow-up.
After struggling to beat down a stubborn Russian side, the contest was settled on penalties after an absorbing 120 minutes of play.
The opening few spot kicks were coolly dispatched until Koke saw his effort saved by Akinfeev, leaving all advantage with Russia, whose progression to the quarter-finals was assured after Aspas saw his spot-kick saved by the trailing foot of the goalkeeper
Spain: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Koke, Busquets; Silva, Isco, Asensio; Costa
Russia: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kudryashov, Kutepov, Ignasevich, Zhirkov, Samedov, Kuzyaev, Golovin, Zobnin, Dzyuba.