Russia edge out Spain to enter QF

Mike Kireev  Global Look Press

De Gea got a hand to Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov, but proved unable to keep it out.

Akinfeev's penalty heroics led goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel to say that the Russian Federation 'keeper "deserves a statue" in his honor.

There were one or two moments, chief of them coming when substitute Rodrigo turned on the pace to force a save from Akinfeev, but that was pretty much it, with Russian Federation more than happy to take this to penalties - the crowd celebrated going into a penalty shootout like they had won the World Cup, which said everything really.

Russian Federation head coach Stanislav Cherchesov called the World Cup hosts' second round encounter with Spain a "life or death" game, and compared it to an exam they would have to pass.

Russian Federation is ranked 70th in the world, the lowest in the field, and Spain is 10th.

Before the game, he had compared Russia's qualification from the group stage to a fairytale, and the fans echoed that with a vast banner reading: "You were born to make the fairytale real".

"It's painful, there's nothing else we can say", Spain captain Sergio Ramos said.

It is unclear if interim coach Fernando Hierro will continue in a job he did not seek before Julen Lopetegui was sent home.

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Sunday's defeat ended Andres Iniesta's Spain career. The veteran Barcelona midfielder came off the bench and nearly won the game with an 85th-minute shot well saved by Akinfeev.

Spain was more urgent in extra time after being too passive when it dominated the ball in the 90 minutes of regular time.

Russia's ultra-defensive approach worked against a risk-averse Spain team that completed more than 1,000 passes, but nearly none into the penalty area.

Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.

Dzyuba calmly sent De Gea the wrong with his penalty to join Cheryshev on a team-leading three goals. In the end, the 2010 World Cup winners were made to pay for their lack of ruthlessness. "We can always win, and that's what we have to think and believe".

Russian Federation was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was on his feet and leaning on a protective barrier to watch the shootout. Russian Federation had the third-greatest upset by differential since the FIFA rankings started in 1992, behind Nigeria's win over France in 1998 and South Africa's victory over France in 2010, both in the group stage.

Russia - Akinfeev 7, Fernandes 5, Kudryashov 7, Kutepov 7, Ignashevich 7, Zhirkov 5, Samedov 6, Kuzyaev 5, Golovin 6, Zobnin 5, Dzyuba 6. As a result, the fate of the tie was decided in penalty shootout, where the bad beats Koke and ASPAs cost "red fury" places in the quarterfinals.

Dzyuba converted from the spot and it proved to be a costly mistake from the Barcelona defender as the rest of the match turned into defense versus attack with Russia's defenders, ultimately, coming out on top.

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