Hosts Russia pulled off the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup

Russian players celebrate after beating Spain

Hosts Russia pulled off the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup so far as they beat 2010 winners Spain in the first penalty shootout of the tournament to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 48 years.

After extra-time ended with the score locked at 1-1, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was Russia’s penalty hero, denying Koke and then Iago Aspas to spark scenes of delirious celebration at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev blocks a penalty kick with his foot

His opposite number, David de Gea, got a hand to the first spot-kick he faced – from Fedor Smolov – but that was the closest he came to making a save as the Russians converted their remaining penalties in clinical fashion. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side, at 70 the lowest ranked team in the competition and 60 places below Spain, now face Croatia in the last eight in Sochi on Saturday.

The veteran Russian defender, who turns 39 later this month, put through his own net as he tried to stop Sergio Ramos reaching Marco Asensio’s free-kick at the far post. But Spain failed to turn their overwhelming dominance of possession into further chances and paid the price before half-time, when Artem Dzyuba’s header from a corner hit Gerard Pique’s outstretched arm.

Russia was considered one of the weakest teams in the tournament, and Spain one of the favorites. But in 120 minutes Spain could only force one own goal, and when it comes down to penalties anybody can beat anybody.

 

Share this post:

Leave a Reply