After being dominated for two hours, Russia, in an unexpected turn of events, defeated Spain. With the match tied 1-1, it came down to the shootout and Russia came out on top winning 4-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Igor Akinfeev, who serves as both the goalkeeper and captain for Russia was on top of his game saving shots from Spain’s Iago Aspas and Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion. All four Russians managed to score in front of a screaming hometown crowd including Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin, Sergei Ignashevich and Fyodor Smolov.
With the shootout tied and Spain’s last licker failing to score after Akinfeev used his foot to deflect the ball. As 32, Akinfeev jumped up in the air after the save pumping his hands as the Russian team rushed to congratulate the teammate and captain.
The year’s World Cup has been a stellar success for Russia considering they were ranked at 70th. They now move onto the quarterfinal to play against Denmark Croatia on Saturday. For Russian fans in Canada, it is one of those times when excitement is at a fever pitch with hopes Russia will move onto the semi-finals. Those planning on watching Saturday’s game may want to take a look at licensed Canadian websites to place bets on this game.
Russia was not expected to advance beyond the group stage and is now going into the fourth week of the tournament. For Akinfeev, he felt emptied out saying,
“Over the whole second half and extra time we were defending our goal and managed it, we were hoping for penalties because Spain are hard to beat. Spain can’t always be lucky.”
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 2, 2018
This was Russia’s greatest win in the last decade while playing international soccer. The last was when facing the Netherlands during the quarterfinals at the European Championship. That win also saw Akinfeev in net. The eventually lost to Spain – revenge can be sweet and at times, unexpected.
Spain failed to get the job done and seemed to be playing passively at times. Ranked 10th going into the tournament, trouble seemed to be the call of the day after the Spanish Federation fired their coach just days before the tournament was slated to begin.
Spain’s Captain, Sergio Ramos, during post-match interviews, said,
“It’s painful, there’s nothing else we can say, we left our soul in the pitch.”
Once extra time went into effect, Spain seemed to become more aggressive as they sensed the urgency of what they needed to do. Shot after shot from Spain failed to get past the skilled goaltending of Akinfeev. He pushed away a shot and made diving saved earlier after attempts by Iago Aspas and Andres Iniesta.
Spain took an early lead scoring only 12 minutes into the first half after Sergio Ramos got tangled after a crossed ball deflected off Sergei Ignashevich into the goal. At the 41 minute mark, Spain made an errors that saw Russia earning a penalty kick and subsequently seeing the match tied 1-1.
There were 78,000 fans in attendance at the Luzhniki Stadium, and the hometown support was clear going into and throughout the match. With Russia’s first match played at the same stadium, it is expected that Russians will be on the edge of their seat in anticipation of what could see the Russians move onto the semi-finals this Saturday.