Sports

Russian Federation beat Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Russian Federation beat Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and their coach Fernando Hierro, who took over at the last minute to replace Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid's offer to be their manager.

Spain were gifted the lead through Sergey Ignashevich's early own goal, then themselves handed Russian Federation an equaliser via Gerard Pique.

Argentina held the previous record of 703 successful passes in a World Cup match against Greece in 2010, although Opta has only collected this data since 1966.

After a Sergei Ignashevich own goal put Spain ahead with just 12 minutes on the clock, the host's prospects of progressing to the quarter-finals looked bleak, such is the talent of La Roja.

Captain Sergio Ramos attempted 150 passes over the 90 minutes, followed by Koke's 127, with Isco and Jordi Alba also passing three figures.

Artem Dzyuba, the lone centre-forward whose thankless task it was to try and punish Spain on Russia's few breaks, was less restrained.

Hosts Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties thanks to two saves by their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on Sunday to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals where they will face either Denmark or Croatia.

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Russian Federation were defending deep in their own half and gave La Roja too much space to pick out their passes although limited to outside the box.

It was Nacho, in for Dani Carvajal at right-back, who won the free-kick that led to Spain taking the lead as he was caught by Yury Zhirkov to the right of the penalty area.

41' GOAL! Spain 1-1 Russia: Russia are level!

Spain have not lost a match since Euro 2016, although they have looked far from convincing after the chaos that saw coach Julen Lopetegui sacked before their Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 first game. It seemed as if this would be the day to snap out of that skid against a less talented Russian squad, but goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had other ideas.

Spain kicked off the ball to start the match at Russia's historical Luzhniki Stadium, which saw an attendance of over 78,000 tonight amid the sunny weather with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Centigrade (almost 78 Fahrenheit). With all the talent at their disposal, Spain have to be regretting letting the first hour or so slip away.

Pique leapt to meet a Koke corner, his header deflecting over the bar for another as Spain mounted some late pressure, and Smolov blasted wide as four minutes of added time ticked away with neither side able to find a victor. He smiled just before Akinfeev saved the shot with his trailing leg.

Sergio Ramos and Denis Cheryshev then converted, before Akinfeev's stop to deny Iago Aspas sent Russian Federation through and Spain home.


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