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Joy in Moscow, as Spain Heads Home: FIFA WORLD CUP 2018

There was joy for Russia, the host nation of the FIFA World Cup 2018 and misery for the ex champions Spain, as they were knocked out in the round of 16 in a rainy afternoon in Moscow.

Being touted as one of the favorites to win the tournament and the ultimate favorites of this round of 16 clash, Spain put on a disappointing performance, which was a perfect reflection of their misery-full campaign. Having sacked their head coach a day before the tournament, in a controversial decision, many expected the Spanish side to struggle and they did. Host side Russia came into the tie following a defeat in their last group match but full of confidence, despite the enormous underdog tag on them.

Sergei Ignashevich opened the scoring for Spain when he deflected Real Madrid wonder-kid Marco Asensio's free-kick inside his own net in the 12th minute. The Russians in reply kept on knocking on the Spanish goal until the 41st minute when Barcelona center-back's flailing hand granted the host side a penalty which Artem Dzyuba converted easily. Russia had their goal-keeper and captain Igor Akinfeev to thank as he denied former Barcelona mid-fielder Andres Iniesta and Valencia striker Rodrigo from giving Spain the lead.

Following normal time, and an uneventful extra-time the match went on to penalties, where the Russian captain yet again produced a remarkable effort denying Atletico Madrid mid-fielder Koke and Spanish striker Iago Aspas to take Russia through to the quarter-finals. The match ended 1-1 with Russia winning 3-4 on penalties.

  • Russia
  • Spain