Monday, 24 September, 2018

Game Yetu in Moscow as Russian Federation take on Spain at Luzhniki Stadium

Spanish striker Diego da Silva Costa scores a goal against Team Portugal Vladimir Astapkovich  Sputnik  Scanpix  LETA Spanish striker Diego da Silva Costa scores a goal against Team Portugal Vladimir Astapkovich Sputnik Scanpix LETA
Ivan Hill | 02 July, 2018, 03:42

Russian Federation keeper Igor Akinfeev saved Koke's and Iago Aspas' spot kicks in their first ever penalty shootout to send the hosts through following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

The midfield maestro, who is also leaving Barcelona to play for Japanese club Vissel Kobe next season, scored 13 worldwide goals in his career, most notably the victor in extra time of the 2010 World Cup final.

"It's a reality that this is my last game with the national team, on a wonderful stage", Iniesta told reporters after the defeat. 'A marvellous spell is over.

It was also the ninth time that Spain have failed to beat a host of a World Cup or European Championships.

Having long run out of steam and with several players cramping, Russia were reduced to desperately defending in extra time as Spain, who played more than four times the number of passes their opponents did, still struggled to slice open the Russian defence.

"It would be an advantage to say that Lopetegui's thing has to do with the result, in the end those of us who have the ball are the players", he continued.

So often, he has rescued points for United by taking to the air and clawing away a goal-bound strike and he started the World Cup as Spain's undisputed No 1.

The German dressing-room divide might explain their World Cup exit
In the final game, Mexico lined up against Sweden requiring only a draw or a win to qualify. For those who aren't football (soccer) fans, it's important here to establish some context.


Spain led in the 12th minute when Ramos helped force Russia's Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal when his back was turned to the play.

De Gea got close to two penalties in the shootout which saw Spain eliminated by the tournament hosts but he did not appear to be on his game on Sunday afternoon.

Gone from the World Cup tournament so far are No.1-ranked Germany, No.4 Portugal and No.5 Argentina.

"Penalties are a lottery - and we lost today, but I am very proud of these players as captain".

Russian fans believe they can win the World Cup thanks to manager Stanislav Cherchesov - but it is not just his tactics proving to be inspirational.

It gave Russian Federation its greatest win in global soccer for 10 years, since Akinfeev was in goal for an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in a European Championship quarterfinal.

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