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Igor Akinfeev's wonderful kick save powers Russian Federation to upset over Spain

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Igor Akinfeev's wonderful kick save powers Russian Federation to upset over Spain

Russian Federation reached a World Cup quarter-final for the first time in 48 years when the hosts beat former champions Spain 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw yesterday.

Igor Akinfeev assumed instant Yuri Gagarin status by saving two of Spain's spot kicks.

Hosts Russia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Spain in a dramatic round of 16 clash here.

Akinfeev saved Koke's penalty to give Russian Federation the advantage.

The teams meet at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday for a place in the quarterfinals, but Russia's progress even to this stage something of a surprise after most pre-tournament predictions viewed them as candidates to exit in the first round.

Six minutes into bonus time, Russian Federation took advantage of the new rule allowing a fourth sub in extra time, bringing on history-maker Aleksandr Erokhin to help some exhausted legs in midfield. Koke saw his effort saved by Igor Akinfeev, before Iago Aspas's unsuccessful spot kick sent the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow into delirium.

Cheryshev, 27, has endured a litany of injuries in his career, limiting his time in the national side but three goals at this World Cup have turned him into one of the team's leading players. We said because of the World Cup that we need to unite. The clash against Spain is the 38-year-old's 126th game for his country since 2002, reported Sputnik news agency.

As rain came down, each team made its first two kicks in the shootout, but Akinfeev dived right and with a two-handed punch stopped Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion.

"I've been in the team for 12 years, I'm used to criticism", said Silva.

Akinfeev had already made a string of fine saves as Russian Federation held on to force extra-time and spot-kicks.

Spain has now failed to win a knockout game at three major tournaments since it won Euro 2012, its third straight major title after Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. "We left our soul in the pitch".

Despite only limited coaching experience in Spain, Hierro was seen as a safe pair of hands, which is interesting as another of his selection headaches is the patchy form of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

As a child, Cheryshev followed his father around Spain from Sporting Gijon to Burgos and then to Real Madrid, where Dmitry Cheryshev coached in the academy and his son learned the game. Iniesta entered the game in the 67th-minute while converting a penalty shot in the shoot-out.

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

But Russia drew level in the 41st minute, Artem Dzyuba smashing home a penalty after his header was blocked by Gerard Pique's arm in the box. "I think that we did this but we can't stop at this (victory)". "We won against them - nobody believed we could, but we did".

By reaching the round of 16, the hosts were already guaranteed their best World Cup finish in the post-Soviet era.

Extra-time did little to create a sense of urgency for either team, although Spain did enjoy the best of the chances.

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