Russia defeated Spain on penalties to earn victory after the inaugural shootout of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Koke saw his effort saved by Igor Akinfeev, before Iago Aspas’s unsuccessful spot kick sent the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow into delirium.
It had all started so well for La Roja – who silenced the Luzhniki in the opening moments – a set-piece providing the opportunity for Spain to take the lead. Sergio Ramos proved a nuisance to Sergei Ignashevich, and the veteran defender turned the ball into his own net.
But Russia did not wilt in the sticky Moscow evening. The imperious Artem Dzyuba revelled in his battle with Ramos and Gerard Pique, and another one of his victorious skirmishes against the latter resulted in the Barcelona man handling inside the box. Dzyuba himself stepped up and sent David De Gea the wrong way.
The second half settled into a pattern of Spanish possession and Russian counter-attacks, but beside a late save by Akinfeev from Andres Iniesta, neither side looked ready to win the game in normal time.
A brave defensive performance from Russia in extra time earned them a penalty shootout against the 2010 winners, where Akinfeev was ultimately the hero.