Igor Akinfeev: Russia’s hero against Spain


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

Nonetheless, Artem Dzyuba was able to draw a penalty from Gerard Pique who was called for a handball just inside the box. Akinfeev delivered on both fronts with impressive dexterity, allowing his strikers to win the penalty shootout against Spain 4-3 on the back of his pair of massive saves.

Spain joined Argentina, Portugal and Germany among the big guns to have been eliminated from this World Cup, but Iniesta said he believed the future for the Spain team was bright.

That was the boost that Russian Federation needed going into half-time, but they almost threw the advantage away when Diego Costa, invisible up to that point, was given a couple of chances just before the half-time whistle, with Akinfeev, thankfully for the hosts, up to his task.

Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest scorer of an own goal in World Cup history when the 38-year-old gave Spain an early lead at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Akinfeev saved a awful Koke penalty to put Russian Federation in control and with David de Gea unable to stop any of the four kicks he faced, Aspas' effort was brilliantly blocked by the goalkeeper to spark chaotic celebrations. Russia, in turn, the next stage will play the victor of Croatia - Denmark.

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"We don't like this kind of structure but this is what we had to do with three defenders". The veteran Barcelona midfielder came off the bench and nearly won the game with an 85th-minute shot well saved by Akinfeev.

La Roja have endured a tumultuous World Cup campaign which started off with the sacking of their manager, Julen Lopetegui, only two days before the tournament was underway.

But the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder said he accepted full responsibility for Spain's exit on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Russian Federation in Moscow, and admitted he was still in the dark on his future.

Stanislav Cherchesov said that his tactics - and the way his players executed them - were the key to Russia's surprise last 16 victory over Spain.

Russian penalty kickers were ideal against Spain's struggling goalkeeper David De Gea.

In Sunday's match, Spain's defender Sergio Ramos opened the scoring in the 11th minute.

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

Dzyuba himself stepped up and sent David De Gea the wrong way.

Akinfeev then saved Koke's effort, before Golovin, Ramos and Cheryshev scored theirs, meaning Aspas had to score.

Spain won a first World Cup in 2010, before then they had never got beyond the quarter-finals.

Spain dominated the ball during the game - completing more than 1,000 passes - but was too passive against a well-organized Russian defense. Russian Federation had the third-greatest upset by differential since the FIFA rankings started in 1992, behind Nigeria's win over France in 1998 and South Africa's victory over France in 2010, both in the group stage.

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Going back to the story about my daughter yesterday, I need to know if I am a grandfather or not. More penalties have been awarded at the 2018 Fifa World Cup than at any previous event.