Russian Federation eliminate Spain from World Cup in last-16 penalty shootout

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Russian Federation eliminate Spain from World Cup in last-16 penalty shootout

Dismissed as no-hopers little over a fortnight ago, Russian Federation will try to get back onboard a wave of national euphoria and pull off what striker Artem Dzyuba called a "minor miracle".

Suddenly, Russia are brimming with confidence and Spain look patchy at best.

It was a distressing case of déjà vu for Fernando Hierro, who had been through it all before as a player, having taken the first penalty in Spain's shoot-out defeat by Korea Republic in 2002.

Dzyuba, unable to contain his delight after keeping his nerve to plant an equalising penalty past David de Gea after Gerard Pique's handball, said he found stepping up to take the penalty intimidating but that the heavens had been on his side. Coolly converted in the shootout, but this was a cruel end to his global career.

Sergio Ramos claimed the goal but replays showed that Ignashevich got the final touch with his heel as he battled the Real Madrid defender inside the box.

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Pique, one of three starters left who played in the 2010 final victory over the Netherlands, was called for a blatant hand ball, leaping into a jumping jack as Artem Dzyuba's header bounced off his left arm.

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.

Sergio Busquets - 6 - The Barcelona player was the elder statesman in the heart of Spain's midfield as he procured the ball for the more creative players to flourish in the final third. Safe and sound, but not penetrative, in possession.

Igor Akinfeev. Any day you save two penalties in a shootout is a good day.

"I haven't felt such emotions in a long time, not only because of the football but in life in general".

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David de Gea - 5 - Had little to do between the sticks until being called into action during the dying embers of the first-half with his first task being to prevent Russian Federation scoring a penalty - he failed as Dzyuba unleashed a thunderbolt into the back of the net. Nearly set up a chance for Isco after the break, but "almost" was not really enough. Scored Spain's first penalty in the shootout.

Aspas was unable to get the ball under control after Iniesta had threaded a pass through into the area, with Spain pinning Russian Federation deep inside their own half but still unable to find a way through.

Luka Modric spurned a golden opportunity to put Croatia in front with six minutes of extra time left to play, but his penalty was comfortably held by Kasper Schmeichel. Subs - Aspas 6, Iniesta 5, Carvajal 5, Rodrigo 7.

Saving two penalties in the shoot-out guaranteed that goalkeeper Akinfeev would be named man of the match but he had already thwarted Spain with several fine saves in regular and extra time.

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