World Cup: Russia knock out Spain on penalties in huge shock


MOSCOW: Igor Akinfeev saved two spot-kicks as hosts Russia beat Spain 4-3 in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the World Cup quarter-finals after their last-16 tie had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Akinfeev kept out efforts by Koke and Iago Aspas as the 2010 champions – unbeaten in their previous 23 games – became the latest big-name casualty to exit the tournament after Germany, Argentina and Portugal.

Spain had taken the lead when Marco Asensio’s curling free-kick into the six-yard area hit the ankle of Sergei Ignashevich, who was marking Sergio Ramos, and flew into the net.

Fernando Hierro’s side dominated possession but were unable to make it count and were punished when Russia were awarded a penalty.

Gerard Pique handled Artem Dzyuba’s header and the Zenit St Petersburg forward sent David de Gea the wrong way for his third goal of the tournament.

Substitute Andres Iniesta went close to winning it in normal time for Spain before Russia scored all four of their penalties in the shootout to the delight of their fans in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russia, 70th in Fifa’s world rankings, were without a win in seven games before the World Cup. They are now two victories from the final.