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Russian Federation beat Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarters
04 July 2018, 06:44 | Charlene Valdez
Cheryshev cherishes 2nd bite at cherry, Latest Football News
The world's 70th ranked team were without a win in seven games before hosting the World Cup.
Spain, despite a chaotic build-up to the tournament in which coach Julen Lopetegu was sacked and replaced by Fernando Hierro on the eve of the tournament, had shown enough in the group stage to suggest they were still contenders. However, Russian team's win was convincing.
"It's painful, there's nothing else we can say", Spain captain Sergio Ramos said. Lopetegui was sacked because he didn't tell Spain's soccer leaders he accepted an offer to coach Real Madrid after the tournament.
Spain had 25 shots, nine of which were on frame, but Akinfeev saved them all, only conceded on an unfortunate own goal.
Russian Federation hadn't practised penalties and didn't have a dedicated penalty taker for the game. Smolov and Ignashevich both scored for Russian Federation, while Pique scored for Spain keeping the shootout open at 2-2 with each left with three shots.
Sergei Ignashevich's own goal at a free kick gave Spain the lead in the 12th minute but Artyom Dzyuba leveled with a penalty in the 41st after Gerard Pique handled the ball.
They held firm as extra time reached the halfway point and then summoned a Herculean final effort in the final 15 minutes as Spain finally seemed to realize their looming predicament.
He argued that Spain had enjoyed more ball possession and pointed out the difficulties of breaking down a team laid out in a defensive 5-4-1 system in which all 11 men were regularly kept behind the ball. He knows instantly he's gone the wrong way and is just hoping to get something on it, and he did.
"For us tomorrow has to be a party, especially for the fans at large", he said.
Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament, to equalise and awaken the subdued crowd. "We believed that order, discipline and dedication can beat class".
The match kicks off at the Luzhniki Stadium at 15:00 (BST).
"We endured. We wanted it", he added as he reflected on the shock triumph.
Russian Federation was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was on his feet and leaning on a protective barrier to watch the shootout.
With 35 minutes on the clock Spain had made 300 passes to the 63 of Russian Federation but had not mustered a single effort on target and led only through Sergei Ignashevich's comical own goal.
Left-back Marcelo will be absent for the five-time champions in Samara after he was forced off injured in the final group game against Serbia, with Felipe Luis set to deputise.
Denis Cheryshev was born in Russian Federation but spent most of his life in Spain because his father Dmitry, also a professional player, played and coached at several clubs in the country.
Dzyuba converted from the spot and it proved to be a costly mistake from the Barcelona defender as the rest of the match turned into defense versus attack with Russia's defenders, ultimately, coming out on top.
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