After high of beating Spain, Russia must adapt for Croatia

Jo Caldwell
July 4, 2018

"Yesterday, when the (France and Uruguay) games were over, I thought the same thing, that Neymar will have his way in our match", said Silva at Brazil's pre-match press conference.

More than 74 percent possession, an astonishing 1,137 passes and utter territorial domination, yet the only statistic that counted in the end for Spain was the two penalties they missed after they strangled themselves out of the World Cup on Sunday.

In fact, Spain needed a freaky 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.

Russian Federation won a corner through Spanish confusion in defense in the 41st minute, and Alexander Samedov hit the ball for Dzyuba, who headed it straight into Gerard Pique's waving arm.

Russian Federation will now face Croatia in a World Cup quarter-final, with the latter side beating Denmark in their own penalty shootout.

Russian Federation next play Croatia in the quarter-finals in Sochi on Saturday and penalty shootout hero Igor Akinfeev says the squad must stick to a proven formula for success.

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Spain's king is a soccer fan who, as crown prince, attended the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg to see La Roja beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time.

De Gea got a hand to Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov, but proved unable to keep it out.

Spain joined Argentina, Portugal and Germany among the big guns to have been eliminated from this World Cup, but Iniesta said he believed the future for the Spain team was bright.

Since the match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation time, the issue rolled into overtime.

Spain coach Fernando Hierro had said that teams win tournaments by making fewest mistakes.

Now our team will play the victor of Croatia - Denmark, it will be determined tonight at the match in Nizhny Novgorod.

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Spain finished the half with a burst of activity, registering a couple of efforts, but the next 40 minutes were turgid, a state of affairs not helped by the 25-degree temperature.

"The luck of the draw is that we play in Moscow", said Cheryshev. "We had great hopes for this World Cup and it was not to be".

When Spain made a mistake, Russian Federation tried to counter quickly, often working to set up corner kicks aimed toward Dzyuba.

David De Gea, having been much maligned this tournament for only having made one save and conceding five, once again starts in net for Spain.

Akinfeev claimed Pique's header and pushed away a Rodrigo Moreno shot in extra-time, while the introduction of Aleksandr Erokhin as Russia's fourth substitute made World Cup history. As a result, the fate of the tie was decided in penalty shootout, where the bad beats Koke and ASPAs cost "red fury" places in the quarterfinals.

With 35 minutes on the clock Spain had made 300 passes to the 63 of Russian Federation but had not mustered a single effort on target and led only through Sergei Ignashevich's comical own goal.

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