Russian Federation stun Spain on penalties to make last eight

Russia's defender Ilja Kutepov vies with Spain's midfielder Isco during their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow

Russia's defender Ilja Kutepov vies with Spain's midfielder Isco during their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow

Nothing much was expected of this Russian team, reflected by their Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking, results in friendlies, and the absence of key players including striker Aleksandr Kokorin, but here they are on the brink of facing the victor of this afternoon's matchup between Croatia and Denmark.

Spain controlled the game as expected but struggled to create genuine chances, with Akinfeev sharp on the few occasions they did before saving from Koke and Iago Aspas to seal a 4-3 win on penalties.

They looked, however, equally toothless up front, with Aleksandr Golovin's curled effort their only noteworthy opportunity until Gerard Pique's handball gave them a chance to level with a penalty in the 42 minute.

However, Russia can expect help from the 81,000 fans in the Luzhniki Stadium and will also take heart from the fact Spain have never beaten a host nation in a major tournament.

The 2010 World Cup winners have left Andres Iniesta out of their starting line-up.

Russian Federation boss Stanislav Cherchesov left out leading scorer Denis Cheryshev, opting for three central defenders in a conservative 5-3-2 formation.

Asensio, who made two brief substitute appearances in the group stage, whipped in dangerously to the far post where the ball looped in off an unsighted Ignashevich as he tussled with Ramos.

After dominating possession at the start of the match, Spain opened the scoring in the 11th minute thanks to an own goal from Sergei Ignashevich.

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Russian Federation tried to hit back when Zhirkov got down the left, but the move fizzled out as home fans at the Luzhniki Stadium tried to digest their side's early setback. The referee has awarded a spot kick to the hosts.

Akinfeev snuffed out an opening for Diego Costa on the stroke of half-time as the Spain striker tried to latch onto a through ball.

Nearly 20 minutes into the second half, Russian Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov opted for a reshuffle in the squad sending in midfielder Denis Cheryshev in place of Alexander Samedov.

Russian Federation were not expected to progress past the group stage but now find themselves alongside France and Uruguay as the first teams to qualify for the last eight.

Aspas was ready to go into celebration mode - he knew right away that Akinfeev guessed wrong.

Spain pushed and prodded as the game moved into this World Cup's first extra-time, but the home defence had its men behind, allowing the ball-players little room to maneuver.

Hierro followed suit seven minutes after Erokhin's entrance, sending on Rodrigo Moreno for Marco Asensio.