Russian Federation hero Igor Akinfeev - 'We were lucky' to beat Spain on penalties

Stanislav Cherchesov | Russia

Stanislav Cherchesov | Russia

Earlier on Sunday, Russia defeated Spain 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will face the victor in the Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark that is to be played later in the day in Nizhny Novgorod.

As the Iberians grew desperate, trying a more direct approach to goal, Iniesta came close - collecting a chested pass from the fellow second-half substitute Iago Aspas - but a diving Akinfeev brilliantly turned away his snapshot from outside the box.

Once Spain took the lead in the 11th minute, however, Sergei Ignashevich turning a Marco Asensio free-kick into his own net under heavy pressure from Sergio Ramos, it was hard to see a way back into the game for the hosts.

Spain were heavy favorites going into the game and dominated possession for large periods.

The host's only way to the game was set pieces and the Spanish goalkeeper, David De Gea, was soon beaten when Dzyuba converted a penalty in the 42nd minute after Gerard Pique used his dangling arm to block the goal-scorer's header from an Alexander Samedov corner.

Denmark coach Age Hareide said his side's match against Croatia could boil down to who comes out on top in the midfield battle between Tottenham powerhouse Christian Eriksen and Modric.

Both the goals came in the first half.

They have lost eight of those games, including four at World Cups, the last to South Korea in 2002 - also on penalties.

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

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Russian Federation will now face the winners of Croatia v Denmark in the quarter-final with the winners of that match potentially facing a semi-final showdown with England.

Fernando Hierro & Co were shocked by hosts Russian Federation in Moscow, losing 5-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1.

"Spain plays the same style as in previous years", said the 38-year-old defender.

There was no denying extra-time in the end as the two sides could not be separated. "The fact that the game will be at Luzhniki Stadium with nearly 80,000 people supporting us is probably the only good effect from the fact we finished second in our group", said Ignashevich.

Spain join Germany, Argentina and Portugal as the fancied teams eliminated.

More than 74 per cent possession, an astonishing 1,137 passes and utter territorial domination, yet the only statistic that counted in the end for Spain was the two penalties they missed after they strangled themselves out of the World Cup. "But when you are sure about the way you have done things with responsibility and conviction, the only way is to move forward".

Akinfeev saved two shots during the shootout, while all of his teammates scored to give Russian Federation a 4-3 advantage after a draw that was dominated by Spain in every way but the 1-1 score.

Pique is 31 and Ramos 32, the last mainstays of Spain's era of greatness.

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