Russia Upsets Spain In Penalty Shootout

In the end he needed only four after Akinfeev's heroics completed one of the all-time great World Cup backs-to-the-wall performances and sent Russian Federation into the quarter-finals.

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.

Huge men with painted faces held each other in bear hugs and cried tears of disbelief and joy, while others screamed the rallying cries of "Russya" and "Igor, Igor Akinfeev".

Following the loss Iniesta said to the reporters: "It's a reality that is my last game with the national team".

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


Spain dominated the match in terms of possession and territorial domination but posed very little threat to the host nation.

Spanish midfielder Andreas Iniesta thanks the crowd after the game. "We left our pride and soul out there". "I'm proud and have nothing negative to say to the whole group that has been in Russia, Hierro and all his team, the players, the coaching staff, all those who have been here". The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel as he and Ramos got tangled up.

Pique has been a controversial figure in the Spain set-up in recent years.

The city had been gripped by World Cup fever since the beginning of the tournament, as fans arrived from across the globe including thousands from Latin America. That defied expectations for the home team, and Russia's path to the final also includes a potential semifinal here.

Russian Federation was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was on his feet and leaning on a protective barrier to watch the shootout.


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