Hosts Russia beat favorites Spain 4-3 in penalty shootout

Hosts Russia playing their first knockout game have beaten favorites Spain 4-3 in penalty shootout and head into quarterfinals. Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was brilliant on the night saving 2 penalty shots and 9 Spanish attempts on target.

Playing in Luzhniki stadium, Moscow, in front of 80,000 people Russia dropped Denis Cheryshev from it’s line up. Russia started with an ultra defensive setup. Starting with 5 defenders at the back. Spain looked in complete control at the start. At the 12th minute, Sergio Ramos was going towards the ball, was tackled by Sergey Ignashevich who inturn ricocheted the ball inside the Russian goal, scoring a self goal. This was the 10th own goal in this World Cup.

Artem Dzyuba scored the equalizer on a penalty kick into the net as David De Gea dived the wrong way and both the teams went into halftime 1-1.

2nd half also belonged to Spain as they had 74% ball possession. Russia had only 26% of the ball possession with only 1 ball on target which was the penalty kick but Russia blocked Spain’s chances.

Spain’s defence has been uncharacteristically error prone this World Cup and Russia pierced the Spanish defence. Miscommunication between Ramos and Iniesta was clearly visible.

Four minutes stoppage time was given and further 30 minutes extra time but no team could score. Finally in the penalty shootout Russia emerged victorious courtesy of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev who saved 2 penalty shots, ousting 2010 World Champions Spain.