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WORLD CUP 2018: RUSSIA REACH QUARTER-FINAL AFTER 4-3 PENALTY SHOOTOUT AGAINST SPAIN


Hosts Russia pulled off the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup so far as they beat 2010 winners Spain in the first penalty shootout of the tournament to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 48 years.

After extra-time ended with the score locked at 1-1, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was Russia's penalty hero, denying Koke and then Iago Aspas to spark scenes of delirious celebration at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

His opposite number, David de Gea, got a hand to the first spot-kick he faced - from Fedor Smolov - but that was the closest he came to making a save as the Russians converted their remaining penalties in clinical fashion.

Stanislav Cherchesov's side, at 70 the lowest ranked team in the competition and 60 places below Spain, now face Croatia or Denmark in the last eight in Sochi on Saturday.

Their unlikely progress is a reward for their resolute defending for most of the 120 minutes of play and should reflect the part played by their thousands of fans who roared them on throughout their defensive masterclass.

Admittedly there were few signs of the Spanish struggles to come when Sergey Ignashevich inadvertently gave Fernando Hierro's side a a 12th-minute lead.

The veteran Russian defender, who turns 39 later this month, put through his own net as he tried to stop Sergio Ramos reaching Marco Asensio's free-kick at the far post.

But Spain failed to turn their overwhelming dominance of possession into further chances and paid the price before half-time, when Artem Dzyuba's header from a corner hit Gerard Pique's outstretched arm.

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Culled from BBC

My view: This World Cup is full of surprises, the tournament has been full of surprises from the start, there are superweight countries absent and some heavyweights have even been kicked out, it's baffling.