Akinfeev says Russian Federation were aiming for penalties

Oscar Cross
July 2, 2018

Today's dramatic penalty shootout victory for tournament hosts Russian Federation over Spain has paved the way for one of the most open sides of the draw in recent World Cup memory.

Sergio Ramos was emotionally drained after Spain's World Cup defeat to Russian Federation and left the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium in tears just moments after delving into his book of underhand tricks again.

The Russians, in front of their home fans, got two shootout saves from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to win on penalty kicks and advance to the quarterfinals, where they will play Croatia or Denmark.

Naturally, the world was shocked by this upset, with some of the best reactions coming at Spain's expense.

But the Spaniards just seem to revert to their pre-2008 frustrating selves - full of ability but no end product as they kept up a weird record of nine losses to World Cup and European Championship hosts since 1934.

After both teams converted their first two PKs, Russia took the lead in the third round when Igor Akinfeev stopped Koke's attempt.

"We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened".

Eight years ago Iniesta scored the goal that gave Spain their first ever World Cup in South Africa.

"A wonderful period has come to an end".

And he told Radio Estadio afterward yesterday's match: "This was my last game for Spain".

The result saw Moscow go into meltdown with tens of thousands of fans in the capital's Federation Internationale de Football Association fan fest crowding around several huge screens as they witnessed what many had believed was unthinkable before the match.

A total of 32 national football teams entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup and only 16 of them proceeded to the knockout phase after the group stage, which kicked off on June 14 and ended on June 28.

"This is a great victory for us, for the whole country, the soul of the country", Mikhail Sitner, 34, from Moscow, said.

"I was frustrated after the injury, but I've been doing a lot of work to make sure I'm back so I can make a contribution to the team", the Tottenham midfielder said.

"This morning I was very nervous, but now it is time to celebrate".

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