Hosts Russia defeat powerhouse Spain in World Cup shootout
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Hosts Russia defeat powerhouse Spain in World Cup shootout

Spain dominates the ball, completing more than 1,000 passes, but is too passive in 1-1 game against a well-organized Russian defense

Russia's Artyom Dzyuba celebrates scoring his side's opening goal during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/ Antonio Calanni)
Russia's Artyom Dzyuba celebrates scoring his side's opening goal during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/ Antonio Calanni)

MOSCOW, Russia — Russia shockingly eliminated Spain from the World Cup, surviving two hours of dominance by the 2010 champions in a 1-1 draw, and then winning a penalty shootout 4-3.

Russia’s captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Iago Aspas, and four of his teammates all scored.

Spain dominated the ball during the game — completing more than 1,000 passes — but was too passive against a well-organized Russian defense.

Spain led in the 12th minute, when captain Sergio Ramos helped force Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal, when his back was turned to the play. The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel.

An error in Spain’s defense let Russia level in the 41st, after Gerard Pique’s raised arm blocked a header by Artyom Dzyuba at a corner.

Dzyuba’s penalty kick fooled goalkeeper David De Gea to dive the wrong way.

Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich, front, scores an own goal during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Michel)

Russia next plays Croatia or Denmark, who play later Sunday. The quarterfinal is on Saturday evening in Sochi.

Throughout, Spain controlled the game as expected, but struggled to create genuine chances.

“We are having a fantastic World Cup,” said Akinfeev.

“Not just our fans, but the fans of other countries got a sense of this atmosphere and understood that Russians really know how to play football and want to play football.”

Meanwhile, Spain’s rotten run against host nations at major tournaments continues.

Fernando Hierro made the bold decision to drop Andres Iniesta for Koke in central midfield, with Marco Asensio handed his first start of the competition.

Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov left out leading scorer Denis Cheryshev, opting for three central defenders in a conservative 5-3-2 formation.

Spain’s Sergio Ramos blows a kiss as he celebrates after Spain score the opening goal of the game, after Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich scored an own goal during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

It was Nacho, in for Dani Carvajal at right-back, who won the free-kick that led to Spain taking the lead as he was caught by Yury Zhirkov to the right of the penalty area.

Asensio, who made two brief substitute appearances in the group stage, whipped in dangerously to the far post where the ball looped in off an unsighted Ignashevich as he tussled with Ramos.

Spain dominated the first 30 minutes, pressing Russia heavily as the hosts struggled to advance beyond the halfway line in humid conditions.

Aleksandr Golovin carved out their first chance of note, starting a move with a jinking run before bending just wide of David de Gea’s left-hand post.

Isco produced a series of regal touches with Spain’s King Felipe VI among those in the crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium, but Russia equalized shortly before half-time.

Pique penalized

A deep corner was met by Dzyuba, whose header struck the outstretched arm of Pique, with referee Bjorn Kuipers contemplating his decision before pointing to the spot.

Dzyuba calmly sent De Gea the wrong with his penalty to join Cheryshev on a team-leading three goals.

Akinfeev snuffed out an opening for Diego Costa on the stroke of half-time, as the Spain striker tried to latch onto a through ball.

The Russia goalkeeper was again involved early in the second half, flying to his left to pluck a spinning Jordi Alba effort from the air.

Russia’s Artyom Dzyuba, right, runs to celebrate scores his side’s first goal from a penalty kick past Spain goalkeeper David De Gea, 2nd left, during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Cherchesov introduced Cheryshev for Alexander Samedov on the hour, a move greeted by a deafening roar from the home support.

Iniesta replaced David Silva, while Costa was withdrawn for Aspas, and the two substitutes went close to winning it late in regulation time.

A low 20-yard drive was palmed away by Akinfeev at full stretch, with the angled follow-up from Aspas also pushed to safety.

Aspas nearly picked out Carvajal with a cut-back, seconds into the start of extra time, which saw Aleksandr Erokhin come on as Russia’s fourth sub — the first time the rule has been applied at the World Cup.

Spain followed suit as Rodrigo replaced Asensio, and the former went closest to ending the impasse, sprinting towards goal after a clever dummy, only for Akinfeev to claw his shot away before the rebound from Koke was blocked.

Russia endured a tense wait when Kuipers was in communication with the video assistant referee following a late tug on Pique in the box, before Akinfeev’s shootout heroics clinched an unforgettable triumph.

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