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Russia's World Cup hero Igor Akinfeev says they were aiming for penalty shootout against Spain

Akinfeev saved Koke's penalty to give Russia the advantage, and later stopped Iago Aspas's effort with his legs to spark mass celebrations in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Published: 01st July 2018 11:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2018 11:34 PM   |  A+A-

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev catches a penalty shot during the round of 16 match against Spain | AP

By AFP

MOSCOW: Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said Russia's game plan had been to hold on for a penalty shootout after the host nation beat Spain on spot-kicks Sunday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Spain dominated the last-16 match but after centre-back Sergei Ignashevich gifted them the opening goal on 12 minutes, Russia drew level when Artem Dzyuba converted a penalty awarded for a handball by Gerard Pique shortly before half-time.

READ | Host Russia upset Spain in shootout to reach FIFA World Cup quarterfinals

Despite overwhelming Spanish possession, the 2010 winners were unable to break down the Russian defence even after extra-time.

Akinfeev saved Koke's penalty to give Russia the advantage. After Denis Cheryshev converted his spot kick, Akinfeev stopped Iago Aspas's effort with his legs to spark mass celebrations in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

"We were hoping for penalties," Akinfeev said.

"We are having a fantastic World Cup. Not just our fans, but the fans of other countries are getting a sense of this atmosphere and understood that Russians really know how to play football and want to play football."

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said: "We spent two years working on this and did a good job".
 



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