'That's life' says Iniesta after Spain farewell ends in defeat

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

But there was high drama in the shootout for the 78,000 spectators at Luzhniki Stadium, with all four Russian penalty-takers keeping their cool and Muscovite Akinfeev, who has only played for CSKA Moscow his entire career, doing well to deny Koke's effort.

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.

Igor Akinfeev was the hero as Russian Federation reached the quarter-finals in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Spain.

While having so much individual quality all over the pitch, they still seem complacent and shaky at the back, there's been mistakes from numerous players, David de Gea most notably, Gerard Pique, and a mix-up between Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta in the final game.

Left back Yuri Zhirkov "has, I fear, played his last game at the tournament" with a knee injury, Cherchesov said.

For the first time in a World Cup, teams will be allowed to make a fourth substitution in extra time.

The rule is aimed at reducing injuries and allowing higher-quality play in extra time, when players are most exhausted. The second half of new victories have not brought, as designated an additional 30 minutes. We tried to bet on them getting exhausted, had five or six clear opportunities to score, and conceded very few, apart from the penalty.

The 2010 world champion controlled the game with its slick passing but failed to add to its lead as the Russians defended with discipline.

Croatia beat Denmark in a dramatic penalty shootout on Sunday to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals.

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The home crowd greeted the arrival of extra time as if they had won the World Cup but Spain, seeing several of their rivals dropping to the floor with cramp and exhaustion, were no doubt confident that the hosts would eventually crack if they just kept rolling the ball from side to side. Turmoil erupted two days before the opening game, when the federation fired the head coach.

The early exit of Spain has drawn comparisons into their heartbreaking elimination in the 2002 World Cup, wherein they suffered a quarterfinal loss to South Korea via a penalty shoot-out.

It was his third goal of the tournament.

Mexico helped eliminate defending champions Germany in the group stages as they reached the last 16 for the seventh successive World Cup.

41' GOAL! Spain 1-1 Russia: Russia are level!

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.

After a long period of Spanish possession, Dzyuba finally won a header to give Russian Federation its first sight of goal from which Golovin failed to hit the target.

Millions of Russian fans, many of whom were mocking this team just a couple of weeks ago, are jumping loudly on the bandwagon.

Akinfeev then saved Koke's effort, before Golovin, Ramos and Cheryshev scored theirs, meaning Aspas had to score.

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