It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and coach Fernando Hierro, who replaced Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid’s offer to be their manager.
“There is a lot of pain in the delegation, the players, the coaching staff,”, Hierro told reporters. “We had great hopes for this World Cup and it was not to be.
“There are 15 players who have given everything, I have absolutely no complaint. This is football. We had more possession, got to their area much more. We understand that in these moments you have to be effective.”
Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.
The 2010 world champions controlled the game with their slick passing but failed to add to their lead as the Russians defended with discipline.
Russia also were toothless up front until Gerard Pique’s handball gave them a chance to level with a penalty in the 41st minute.
Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament to awaken the subdued crowd.
Despite 75 percent possession and more than 1,000 passes, Spain’s famed tiki-taka got them nowhere and they had to wait until the 85th minute to test Akinfeev with a low drive from substitute Andres Iniesta.
Having long run out of steam and with several players cramping, Russia were reduced to desperately defending in extra time.
Akinfeev came to the rescue once again to deny Rodrigo after his fine sprint before becoming a national hero by saving the two spot kicks to send the hosts into the last eight and his fellow Russians to the streets to celebrate.Published: 2018-07-02 05:01:06