Russia Stun Spain, Advance to World Cup Quarterfinals After Winning on Penalties

Andres Iniesta of Spain and Russia's Denis Cheryshev

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said Russia's game plan had been to hold on for a penalty shootout after the host nation beat Spain on spot-kicks Sunday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Spain took a 12th-minute lead when veteran Russian Federation defender Sergei Ignashevich put into his own net but Artem Dzyuba equalised from a penalty for the hosts in the 42nd minute after Gerard Pique handled in the area.

Spain took the lead in the 13th minute on an Asensio set piece.

Spain controlled the game as expected but struggled to create genuine chances, with Akinfeev sharp on the few occasions they did before saving from Koke and Iago Aspas to seal a 4-3 win on penalties.

Less than five minutes remaining in the first half Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers flashed a yellow card to Spain's Gerard Pique for a foul in the Russian box ordering a penalty kick, which was flawlessly executed by Russian striker Artyom Dzyuba to tie the score at 1-1.

The 38-year-old was so intent on preventing Spain's Sergio Ramos from getting on the end of Isco's free-kick, he lost sight of the ball before unwittingly turning it into his own net.

Their match against Spain didn't exactly get off to a dream start.

Russian's are making their first appearance in the FIFA World Cup knockout stages in the post-Soviet era as the ultimate underdogs.

At this point, Spain had not had a shot on goal but twice in added-on time, Diego Costa attempted to regain his side's advantage, only to see a shot from an acute angle and a header saved by Igor Akinfeev. Hosts must rebound quickly for last 16 clash, the 2010 champions who have slipped under the radar after a tumultuous start to the tournament.

Ramos confidently stroked his spot-kick home before Denis Cheryshev put pressure on Iago Aspas. "The fact that the game will be at Luzhniki Stadium with nearly 80,000 people supporting us is probably the only good outcome from the fact we finished second in our group", said Ignashevich.



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