4-3! Russia Stun Spain In Penalty Shootout FIFA World Cup

by Samuel Abasi Posted on July 1st, 2018

Russia will face either Croatia or Denmark in the quarterfinals after beating Spain 4-3 in a penalty shootout on Sunday. The quarterfinal is on Saturday evening in Sochi.

Russia and Spain tied 1-1 during 90 minutes of the match, thus heading to half of hour overtime.

However, even after the overtime none of the teams managed to take the lead and the game went to a penalty shootout.

Russia’s captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Iago Aspas, and four of his teammates all scored.

Spain’s defender Sergio Ramos opened the scoring with 1:0 with his strike. However, later it was announced that it was an own goal by Sergei Ignashevich during the 11th minute.

Spain led in the 12th minute when captain Sergio Ramos helped force Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal when his back was turned to the play. The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel.

Russia defender Sergei Ignashevich has become the oldest player to score an own goal at the World Cup.

The record had been held by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares who scored into his own net in the 2014 World Cup match against France at the age of 37 years and 43 days

An error in Spain’s defense let Russia level in the 41st, after Gerard Pique’s raised arm blocked a header by Artyom Dzyuba at a corner.

Dzyuba’s penalty kick fooled goalkeeper David De Gea to dive the wrong way.

Russia, who qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time after failing to do so in their previous three attempts, are now through to the last eight, while Spain have crashed out.

Russia will now face either Croatia or Denmark, which also play on Sunday in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and NHL forward Alexander Ovechkin attended the match. Spain’s Culture and Sports Minister Jose Guirao and Spain’s King Felipe VI also arrived in Russia’s capital to support their national team during the game.

The last time Russia played the 2010 World Cup winners Spain was in a friendly in November 2017 where they held their opponents to a 3-3 draw.

Russia reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the second time in history, after they achieved the feat in 1966.

This is the first penalty shootout for Russia in the history of the World Cup, and their first ever victory. Spain lost their third World Cup penalty shootout – having been successful from the spot only once in global finals history.

Including today, each of the last five times a World Cup host were involved in a penalty shoot-out, the host nation won:

2018 Russia vs Spain, 2014 Brazil vs Chile , 2006 Germany vs Argentina, 2002 Korea Republic vs Spain and 1998 France vs Italy

“I’m not the man of the match, the man of the match is our team and our fans.” Man of the Match Akinfeev said at the post game presser.

“Emotions are simple: I’m thinking only about the next game. That’s how it is.” Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov added.

Cherchesov also gave an update on Yury Zhirkov’s injury status: “I believe Zhirkov might have played his last game. Maybe he will only play in the final, if we get there. I had to replace him.”

“We came here with ambition and we empathize with our people, those that came all the way to Russia. I don’t think you can talk about the team breaking down or collapsing. There’s a fine line between winning and losing.” Spain coach Fernando Hierro said.

Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta confirmed on Sunday that his international career is over after 130 caps highlighted by his scoring of the winner in the 2010 World Cup final.

“It is a fact that today was my last game. A wonderful chapter has ended,” the 34-year-old told reporters after Spain’s elimination on penalties against hosts Russia in the World Cup last 16.

Iniesta came on as a substitute in the second half and came close to scoring late, before scoring a penalty during shoot-outs.

His national team career spanned 12 years since a 2006 debut and along with Xavi he pulled the strings in midfield en route to titles at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. Iniesta scored the 1-0 winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 final.

Iniesta will continue his club career at Vissel Kobe in Japan after leaving Barcelona where he spent his previous 16 professional years.

Coach Fernando Hierro defended his decision not to field Iniesta as a starter Sunday and praised his effort when he came on after the hour.

“I would give him 10 of 10. He played with the same ambition as if it was his first international cap,” Hierro said.

“I give my whole hearted recognition to one of the greatest players of our history. He’s an outstanding professional. The way he played on the pitch when he substituted on was like he was playing in his first cap and I want to thank him wholeheartedly.” Hierro added speaking of Iniesta.

A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.

The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups proceeded to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.  The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The  11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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