Russian Federation ousts mighty Spain

Russian commentators lost their minds after Igor Akinfeev's game-winning save

Russian commentators lost their minds after Igor Akinfeev's game-winning save

Russian Federation defeated Spain on penalties to earn victory after the inaugural shootout of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

A member of Russian club PFC CSKA Moscow since the age of 16 and the Russian national team since 18, Akinfeev boasts 100 worldwide caps to his name.

Akinfeev was the hero for Russian Federation, saving two spot kicks in the shootout, but he deserves acknowledgement as part of a wider defensive gameplan from the host nation.

In fact, Spain needed a freakish own goal by the otherwise excellent Sergei Ignashevich to open the scoring, while Russia's equaliser was another penalty, this time a 41st-minute effort by Artem Dzyuba.

Fernando Hierro's charges continued their dominance after 20 minutes but they could not get through the hosts' defence in open play.

Playing in a record 126th game for Russia, Ignashevich accidentally struck the ball with the back of his leg in the 12th minute while challenging Sergio Ramos at a free kick. Spain will have to put forward a stronger display against the host nation, who will have a tremendous backing this afternoon.

Russian Federation hit back against the run of play when Gerard Pique needlessly stuck his hand in the air and handled an Artem Dzyuba header.

"In the second half, we were trying to defend".

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Fyodor Smolov, who surprisingly replaced Dzyuba on 65, curled well wide in the final moments of regular time and though Spain marginally upped the tempo when play resumed, Koke lashed wildly from range and Aspas was crowded out.

Pique followed suit Iniesta's shot with a score of his own before Sergey Ignashevich tied the count at 2-all.

"I'm not the man of the match, the man of the match is our team and our fans", said Akinfeev, after each converted penalty, and his saves from Koke and Iago Aspas, were greeted with a deafening roar from a crowd of 78,011 at the Luzhniki Stadium.

The 2010 world champion controlled the game with its slick passing but failed to add to its lead as the Russians defended with discipline. We tried to bet on them getting exhausted, had five or six clear opportunities to score, and conceded very few, apart from the penalty.

Eight years ago Iniesta scored the goal that gave Spain their first ever World Cup in South Africa.

Most of that work, of course, was his predecessor Julen Lopetegui's but he was sacked a day before the World Cup began when he revealed that he would be taking over at Real Madrid next season.

41' GOAL! Spain 1-1 Russia: Russia are level! They demolished Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the World Cup opener at the same venue and went on to hand a 3-1 thrashing to Egypt, who were unimpressive in Russian Federation.

The winger Denis Cheryshev, who was raised in Spain, is on the bench despite having scored three goals so far, while backup right-back Igor Smolnikov is suspended after being red carded in Monday's 3-0 group-stage loss to Uruguay. However, Cherchesov refused to get carried away and spoke like a man on a mission after his side booked a quarter-final clash with Croatia or Denmark.

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