Did Spain's golden generation finally pass itself to death in Russian Federation?


FIFA World Cup 2018, Round of 16: FPJ's dream XI predictions for Spain vs Russia

Russian Federation celebrated one of their most famous wins at the World Cup in Moscow yesterday when they defeated 2010 champions Spain 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out to reach the quarter-finals.

Spain followed suit as Rodrigo replaced Asensio, and the former went closest to ending the impasse, sprinting towards goal after a clever dummy, only for Akinfeev to claw his shot away before the rebound from Koke was blocked.

It all looked to be going well for Fernando Heirro's men when Sergei Ignashevich deflected the ball into his own net inside 12 minutes, but a moment of madness from Gerard Pique gave Russian Federation the opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot.

Spain dominated the match in terms of possession and territorial domination but posed very little threat to the host nation.

Gerard Pique handled Artem Dzyuba's header and the Zenit St Petersburg forward sent David de Gea the wrong way for his third goal of the tournament.

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"It's the coach who makes the decisions", Iniesta said. The second half was played at nearly walking pace, brought very little drama - ditto the first extra time of the tournament - and Fernando Hierro's side paid dearly for their lack of ideas and intensity by exiting 5-3 on penalties in the shootout.

Dropped to bench for a tournament game for the first time in 12 years, Iniesta still almost won the game with Spain's best effort to break down the mass ranks of Russian Federation resistence.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Round of 16 - Spain vs Russia - Moscow, Russia - July 1, 2018.

The World Cup's lowest-ranked team now advances to a quarterfinal against Croatia or Denmark in Sochi on Sunday.

"We are having a fantastic World Cup", said Akinfeev after the victory. Russian Federation will return to the Luzhniki Stadium, having played their opening match at the iconic venue, and will lean on fervent support to go in search of a famous win.

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There was no denying extra-time in the end as the two sides could not be separated.

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 freakish record of nine losses to World Cup and European Championship hosts since 1934. "We didn't play quite the way we wanted but it's hard when you don't have the ball and you spend that much time defending".

Spain joined fellow heavyweights Germany and Argentina in making a premature exit, raising questions as to the wisdom of sacking Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the competition. Against Russia, Igor Akinfeev starred in the shootout while he failed to save at least two spot-kicks he might have kept out. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

The 32-year-old Spaniard - who won the World Cup in 2010 - posted on social media late on Sunday night.

When Ignashevich wrestled with Ramos for Marcos Asensio's cross on 11 minutes and deflected the ball in, Spain might have expected their opponents to abandon their conservative gameplan.

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We've shown we have the chance to win and if we keep it up this way I think we'll be successful. Alves sounded a note of caution following the departure of defending champions Germany.

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