We have not been practicing penalties, says Russian Federation keeper Akinfeev

Geraldine Edwards
July 5, 2018

On Sunday the 2018 World Cup host nation team had fans packed into Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow singing "Kalinka", when the Russian national football (soccer) team beat Spain in the first game of the knock-out phase.

Marca blamed Lopetegui, whose decision to accept the coach's job at Real Madrid on the eve of the World Cup led to his firing, for destabilising the team.

"I don't think you can talk about the team breaking down or there being any sort of collapse", the former Real Madrid captain said.

With players such as world-class midfielder Luca Modric and a string of top-level forwards including Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic, Croatia will challenge Russia's backline far more than Spain's lackluster Diego Costa did in the entire game. That run was ended days later by a Spain team beginning its era of dominance.

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It is the biggest upset ever in the knockout stage and the third biggest upset overall in World Cup history.

"So we need to find their weak points and where we can hurt them", Hierro said through an interpreter.

De Gea - for whom United often use the social media hashtag #DaveSaves - went into the tournament regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world but heads home having faced 11 shots on target - including the Russian Federation shoot-out - and only able to save one. Because we leave ourselves on the pitch until the last drop of sweat, the last bit of energy and bravery.

The Spanish press turned on Julen Lopetegui, the former national coach who was sacked on the eve of the World Cup, after they were knocked out of the tournament on Sunday.

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The diminutive maestro departed boyhood club Barcelona at the close of last season, moving to Japanese side Vissel Kobe on a lucrative three-year deal.

Spain was more urgent in extra time after being too passive for 90 minutes.

Veteran Russia centre-back Sergei Ignashevich gifted Spain the opening goal on 12 minutes in Moscow when he unwittingly turned into his own net after grappling with Sergio Ramos. "But in the end, we are the ones who have the ball".

There was more penalty drama in the later match in Nizhny Novgorod, with Croatia coming out on top 3-2 just minutes after Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had saved a penalty at the end of extra-time. The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel as he and Ramos got tangled up. Dzyuba's penalty kick fooled goalkeeper David De Gea to dive the wrong way.

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Murray's defeat was his second in three matches since his return from long-term hip problems that sidelined him for nearly a year. Murray was patient and precise throughout, forcing Wawrinka into a number of wild errors, as he again defied expectations.

Russian Federation was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was on his feet and leaning on a protective barrier to watch the shootout.

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