Igor Akinfeev was the hero as Russia reached the World Cup quarter-finals in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Spain.

Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas during a nerve-jangling finale at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium as the delirious hosts ousted the 2010 champions and booked a last-eight showdown with Croatia or Denmark.

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.

 

But stalemate ensued between a defensively-minded Russian side and a Spanish one whose prolonged possession was slow-paced and short on risk, Fernando Hierro’s men eventually paying the price.

Long before the fevered finale, Russia – who have reached the quarter-finals for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union – were set for containment but they broke quickly when the chance came, Golovin with a promising early dart down the right that raised the volume.

Space squeezed, set-pieces looked a likely way through and when Marco Asensio swung in from the right-hand edge of the box, Ignashevich was too busy wrestling Ramos to clear the danger, the ball bouncing into the net off his calf.

 

 

 

Player ratings

Spain: De Gea (6), Nacho (6), Pique (6), Sergio Ramos (7), Jordi Alba (7), Koke (6), Busquets (6), Silva (6), Isco (8), Asensio (6), Costa (6).

Subs used: Iniesta (6), Carvajal (6), Aspas (6), Rodrigo (7).

Russia: Akinfeev (8), Fernandes (7), Kutepov (7), Ignashevich (5), Kudryashov (6), Zhirkov (6), Samedov (7), Zobnin (6), Kuzyaev (6), Dzyuba (7), Golovin (7).

Subs used: Granat (6), Cheryshev (6), Smolov (6), Erokhin (6).

Man of the match: Igor Akinfeev

 

 

WATCH MATCH VIDEO BELOW:

 

 

 

Advertisements