World Cup 2018: Russia, Croatia reach quarter-finals via penalty shootouts

World Cup 2018: Russia, Croatia reach quarter-finals via penalty shootouts

first_imgRussia defeated Spain 4-3 on penalties thanks to two saves by their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on Sunday to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals.The 32-year-old keeper saved Koke’s and Iago Aspas’ spot kicks after both teams had scored two apiece in Russia’s first ever World Cup penalty shootout, to set up a last eight clash with either Denmark or Croatia, after a lacklustre 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.The Russia-Spain clash was the first match of this year’s World Cup to go into extra time and then penalties.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEThe other match of the day between Croatia and Denmark was also forced to go to extra time and penalties.READ MATCH REPORTIn the last edition on July 1 both the knockout matches went to extra time. It is also the second time since June 21, 1986 that both knockout matches went to penalties. Croatia defeated Denmark 3-2 in the penalty shootout to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup after their clash finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.Croatia’s Luka Modric had the chance to send his team into a quarter-final against hosts Russia with a penalty four minutes from the end of extra time but Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel dived to his left to save the spot kick.READ MATCH REPORTA dramatic start with two goals in the first four minutes promised a full-blooded contest to decide who would meet Russia in Sochi on Saturday after the hosts beat Spain on penalties in Sunday’s early game.advertisementDenmark went ahead after 57 seconds when Mathias Jorgensen scuffed the ball over the line off the foot of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic but Mario Mandzukic had the Croats back on terms with an equally scrappy finish three minutes later.The remainder of the contest failed to live up to the frenetic start with the physical Danes successfully nullifying the threat of the Croatian midfield that lit up the group stage of the tournament. Russia is the lowest ranked team to play in this editionRussia are the lowest-ranked team at 70 have knocked out Spain, who are ranked 10 currently.Russia came into the World Cup as the lowest-ranked team and has since managed to scored nine goals so far in the tournament — the most in this year’s World Cup along with Belgium.Russia’s victory was the fifth consecutive time a host nation won the penalty shootout at the World Cup.READ FULL STORYBefore Russia, the other four winners were France in 1998, South Korea in 2002, Germany in 2006 and Brazil in 2014.Spain opened the scoring with an own goal from Sergei Ignashevich. The own goal meant Russia became the first team to score multiple own goals in a World Cup tournament since 1966. Bulgaria were the last team to do so.Russia’s victory also means that at least one of this year’s finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all. Spain fail to beat yet another host teamSpain has now failed to win a knockout game at three major tournaments since it won Euro 2012.The 2010 champions have never defeated a host country at the tournament. In 1934, they lost twice to hosts Italy, while they lost to hosts Brazil in 1950 World Cup.READ FULL STORYBefore Sunday’s match, the last time they faced a host nation was South Korea in 2002. They lost that match 5-3 on penalties.Also, Spain have now not won a World Cup knockout game in Europe since 1934. Akinfeev confesses he ws hoping for penaltiesIgor Akinfeev was declared the man of the match for his heroic saves, the veteran said the whole team and fans deserve the credit for the famous win.”I’m not the man of the match, the man of the match is our team and our fans, Akinfeev said.”I just feel emptied out,” Akinfeev said. “Over the whole second half and extra time we were defending our goal and managed it, we were hoping for penalties because Spain are hard to beat. Spain can’t always be lucky.” Iniesta retires after Spain crash outIniesta decided to call time on his international career after Spain’s loss. In his glorious international career he won two European Champions title and one World Cup.”It is a reality that is my last match with the national team,” Iniesta said. “Sometimes the endings are not as one dreams. It is the saddest day of my career.”READ FULL STORYThe diminutive midfielder played 131 matches for spain and scored 13 goals, including the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final against Netherlands.advertisementIniesta was also a main member of Spain’s golden generation which saw them lift the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.First time a fourth substitute is used in World CupWorld Cup history was made with the first use of a fourth substitute, which FIFA now allows teams to have one more sub in extra time. Russia’s Alexander Yerokhin went on in the 97th minute against Spain, replacing fellow midfielder Daler Kuzyaev. The rule is aimed at reducing injuries and allowing higher-quality play in extra time, when players are most tired.Spain-Russia match sees special guestsKing Felipe VI of Spain was at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The king is a soccer fan who, as crown prince, attended the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg to see Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time.Russia was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was on his feet and leaning on a protective barrier to watch the shootout. So close, yet so far for Kasper Schmeichel Kasper Schmeichel did everything he could have to deny Croatia a victory but he will feel hard done by his teammates, who missed three penalties during the penalty shootout.Schmeichel not only saved Luka Mordic’s kick from the spot in the 116th minute but also denied Milan Badlej and Josip Pivaric during the shootout but missed penalties from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen meant that Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 via penalty shootout and reach the quarters. The Croats will face Russia next in the quarters on Saturday in Sochi.READ FULL STORYSpeaking about the match, a disappointed Schmeichel said: “It is a strange feeling. There is enormous disappointment but also huge pride in our performance. We had the opportunity and I think we were the better team in the second half. It is hard to put all the emotions into words at the moment.” Goalkeepers ‘save’ the dayDanijel Subasic (shootout) and Kasper Schmeichel (match and shootout) both saved three penalties in the match. Subasic with his saves equalled Ricardo’s record when he did the same to knock out England, approximately 12 years and three hours ago, in 2006 exactly on this day.All five of the unsuccessful penalties were saved by the goalkeepers, which is the first time in the history of the World Cup that there has been five penalty saves in a shoot-out.Jorgensen scored the quickest in a World Cup gameIt took just 220 seconds for both Croatia and Denmark to score in Novgorod.Mathias Jorgensen scored the quickest in a World Cup game since June 2014, when Clint Dempsey scored against Ghana after 29 seconds. Jorgensen also became the first Danish player to score in a World Cup knockout game since Brian Laudrup in 1998, when he scored against Brazil.Mario Mandzukic’s equaliser for Croatia meant both teams scored with their first attempts on goal. Mandzukic is the second highest goal scorer for Croatia at the World Cup with three goals, as Davor Suker (6) netting more.advertisementCroatia has had seven different scorer in this edition of the World Cup.Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic, Ivan Perisic, Milan Badelj and now Mandzukic, have all scored, meaning no team has produced more goalscorers during this tournament.Croatia have reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1998, when they went on to reach the semi-finals.(With inputs from AP and Reuters)last_img

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