MOSCOW (AP) – Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has been voted player of the match after making a series of impressive saves to help the hosts beat 2010 champion Spain and reach the World Cup quarterfinals.
It was 1-1 after extra time and Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Iago Aspas while four of his teammates all scored as Russia won the shootout 4-3.
Akinfeev says “I just feel emptied out.”
Spain dominated the possession during the game — completing more than 1,000 passes — but was too passive against a well-organized Russian defense.
Spain led in the 12th minute when captain Sergio Ramos helped force Russia’s Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal when his back was turned to the play. An error in Spain’s defense let Russia level in the 41st, after Gerard Pique’s raised arm blocked a header by Artyom Dzyuba at a corner.
Russia next plays Croatia or Denmark who play later Sunday.
Akinfeev says, “We were hoping for penalties because Spain are hard to beat — Spain can’t always be lucky.”
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