Monday, 23 July, 2018

Russian Federation knock Spain out of World Cup

No tactical revolution at Russia World Cup says Jose Mourinho FIFA World Cup 2018, Round of 16: FPJ's dream XI predictions for Spain vs Russia
Jennie Wade | 02 July, 2018, 09:33

Captain Igor Akinfeev saved two penalties as Russian Federation triumphed 4-3 in a dramatic shootout in Moscow to reach a first quarter-final since the Soviet era, in 1970.

As the Iberians grew desperate, trying a more direct approach to goal, Iniesta came close - collecting a chested pass from the fellow second-half substitute Iago Aspas - but a diving Akinfeev brilliantly turned away his snapshot from outside the box.

Earlier, a Sergei Ignashevich own goal had put Spain ahead only for Gerard Pique to handball needlessly in his own area and Artem Dzyuba made no mistake from the spot.

Spain dominated possession but rarely found a way through the home side's rugged rearguard and when they did they ran into an inspired Igor Akinfeev.

It is unclear if interim coach Fernando Hierro will continue in the post he did not seek before Julen Lopetegui was sent home.

Russian Federation hit back just before the interval as Artem Dzyuba nervelessly converted a penalty awarded for a handball by Gerard Pique.

In fact, Spain needed a weird 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.

Spain couldn't carve out any more openings and the match became the first of the World Cup to go to extra time.

I think Spain is a much better side than Russian Federation.

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This match could well be a dud. "That would mean we top the group and we would go into whatever game we go into moving forward". If you do not play to win, you are cheating your opponents, deceiving those who are watching, and also fooling yourself.

But for all the talk of tactics and generational change, Spain's 2018 World Cup will be remembered for a simple act of self-sabotage.

Spain captain Iniesta saw his final World Cup outing end in defeat as Russian Federation stunned them to make the quarter-finals of the competition.

Hosts must rebound quickly for last 16 clash, the 2010 champions who have slipped under the radar after a tumultuous start to the tournament.

Despite being heavy favourites to beat Russia, Spain lined-up with two holding midfielders in Koke and Sergio Busquests, while Andres Iniesta was left on the bench. We don't like this type of structure with three central defenders but they trusted me and I spoke with every player individually.

"I had to persuade them this was the only way as they don't like this system", said Cherchesov, whose side had one shot on target in two hours of football.

It was the classic "tiki-taka" style that led to a World Cup title in 2010, bookended by a pair of European Championships.

The CSKA Moscow goalkeeper has been a regular for his national team since making his worldwide debut fourteen years ago and while the 32-year old has more clean sheets than any other Russian goalkeeper in history, his club record in European tournaments has been not quite up to the mark. "I think we should have countered faster".

First Germany, then Lionel Messi's Argentina, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

Akinfeev denied two Spanish shots in the shootout, but the last one was his best. Pique, Ramos, David Silva, Costa and Sergio Busquets will be 33 or older.

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