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#Worldcup: Russia Vs Spain, Match Reports, Goal Highlights - Video

Today's knockout stage match between Spain and Russia showed that football is not all about entertainment, possession or big names. Football is all about zeal, resilience and coherence. 

The Russia team today was able to overcome Spain of all people to clinch a position in the 2018 world cup quarter final stages as they beat Spain 4-3 on penalties after they played out 1-1 draw during full time and extra time.

Some pundits believe that the Russians were lucky considering the amount of passes and possession which has been termed the biggest mountains of possession amassed since World Cup records began, but I say Russia was able to win it because of resilience.

This type of possession mimics that of world champions of 2010 passing the ball 1,114 times in a match but unable to score more goals than a Russia team who refused to be passed to death in the way that so many opponents have in the past. By the end Andres Iniesta looked close to tears, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos had been beaten again and the masterplan that had seen Spain dominate the first decade of the century looked more than a little tired.
The host nation held out in the teeth of 71 per cent Spanish possession, exhausting conditions and fewer Spanish efforts on goal than you might expect, to survive at 1-1 and take the tie to a penalty shoot-out. Russia had managed just one attempt on target before their first penalty taker, the substitute Fyodor Smolov stepped up to level the shoot-out at 1-1 and the next three Russians followed suit while Spanish nerves wobbled and broke.
It sends Russia 2018 down a route that few predicted, with one half of the draw encompassing just one nation that has won this tournament in its history - that being England. Germany, Argentina and now Spain - seven World Cups between them - are out and there is a chance for someone new to contest the final on July 15. This was a dreadful game but the drama of the ending, and its significance for the Russian people, meant that in the stands of the Luzhniki, none of that mattered.
They had kept their cool from the penalty spot while the technicians of the Spain team had lost theirs, first Koke, the Atlético Madrid midfielder, and then Iago Aspas, having their penalties saved by Igor Akinfeev. Afterwards, the inquest around Fernando Hierro went from his late replacing of Julen Lopetegui to his decision not to start Iniesta against Russia and his substitution of Diego Costa.

Ever since his appointment three days before the World Cup, the Spanish federation’s technical director has looked like that particular kind of holidaymaker who wants to go home from the minute he arrives. No one was to blame, Hierro insisted, Iniesta was a great professional, he was proud of the players and they could leave with their heads held high. They were the banal, non-committal views of an accidental manager who, in his mind, was already handing over his passport and boarding pass.

But something has changed for Spain, whatever doubts one might entertain about the extraordinary distances covered by Stanislas Cherchesov’s Russia side in the course of their three victories at this World Cup. The old days of tiki-taka’s preeminence delivered a performance in which the first shot on target from a Spanish player - Sergey Ignashevich’s 11th minute own goal was all his own work - came on 45 minutes. As for Spain’s possession, it was more sterile than the team doctor’s needles.

Spain Vs Russia Match Highlights ..

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