Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Spain player ratings vs. Russia: Bad day for David Silva

Spain player ratings vs. Russia: Bad day for David Silva

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was the shootout hero as his saves sent Russian Federation into the World Cup quarter-finals - but a clip has emerged suggesting striker Artem Dzyuba may have taught him the stunning stop that sent Spain packing.

"The luck of the draw is that we play in Moscow", said Cheryshev.

"In 2008, '10, '12, well, we had the players we had, and we played at a level, with a style had nobody had done before, " said Hierro, who took over as coach when Julen Lopetegui was sacked two days before Spain's opener.

In the end Spain racked up over 1,000 passes but their tiki-taka style was too lethargic and the hosts ran out 4-3 winners in the shootout.

Needing to score to keep his side's hopes alive, Iago Aspas sent his effort down the middle, Akinfeev's left foot sent it anywhere but the goal and the 78,000 inside the stadium were sent wild in celebration.

"I don't believe I am the man of the match - that was the whole team and the fans", said captain Akinfeev afterwards.

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Spain can not afford any individual errors at the back, but you would trust the experienced players to raise the level of their game in the World Cup knockouts stage.

Spain has now failed to win a knockout game at three major tournaments since it won Euro 2012.

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It gave Russian Federation its greatest win for 10 years, since Akinfeev was in goal for an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in a European Championship quarterfinal.

While the Spanish team is preparing to return home, the Russian squad is set to play in the quarterfinals on July 7 at the Fisht Stadium in the resort city of Sochi against Croatia, which also defeated on the penalty shootout the team from Denmark on late Sunday night in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. "We have our personality, and this is a good thing".

It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and coach Fernando Hierro, who replaced Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid's offer to be their manager. Andres Iniesta's introduction also altered the pattern of play, with Spain looking more confident after his entrance.

Pundits, fans and conspiracy theorists will be talking themselves hoarse about just what Gerard Pique was doing when he conceded a penalty to Russian Federation after Dzyuba's header thumped into his outstretched arm.

Dzyuba duly sent David de Gea the wrong way with a penalty for his third goal of the tournament.

Spain made 1,137 passes and completed 1,029, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

In fairness, La Roja did have a strong claim for a penalty turned down in the closing minutes of normal time when both Ramos and Pique were manhandled by their markers but, following a brief VAR review, no-nonsense referee Bjorn Kuipers signalled for play to carry on.

"The job's done. Now we're thinking about the next game", Cherchesov said, adding he's saving his emotions "for later".

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