Best images as Russia shock Spain to progress to the last eight of World Cup

Russia captain Igor Akinfeev was the hero as the hosts stunned Spain 4-3 on penalties after they played out a 1-1 draw at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Akinfeev had already made good saves as Russia held on to force extra-time and spot-kicks – but he then saved from Koke and Iago Aspas in the shoot-out.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov dropped Spanish-based winger Denis Cheryshev and went with five at the back. The limitations of this became obvious when Aleksandr Golovin scampered down the wing in the fourth minute but had nobody to cross to – he held on and settled for a corner.

Spain, meanwhile, passed and passed and passed. And then in the 11th minute, right-back Nacho was fouled just outside the Russian box, giving Marco Asensio no excuse whatsoever but to deliver a ball into the box.

The Real Madrid star did so and it was a fine delivery, but not as good as Sergey Ignashevich made it look. A fortnight short of his 39th birthday, the CSKA stopper is old enough to know you need to watch the ball. Sadly, he had eyes only for Sergio Ramos, who he successfully wrestled to the floor only for the ball to cannon off his heel for a comical own goal.

Here, we take a look at some of the best images from an entertaining game of football.

Most popular

Now is the time for Neymar to shine, says Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Thiago Silva has backed Neymar to follow in the footsteps of Paris St Germain team-mates Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani by shining in the World Cup knockout stages.

Brazil forward Neymar came into the tournament lacking fitness following a foot injury and scored once during three group games.

Fellow PSG players Mbappe and Cavani were instrumental in their countries reaching the quarter-finals on Saturday, each scoring twice as France knocked out Argentina and Uruguay saw off Portugal.

Brazil face Mexico in the last 16 of the competition on Monday.

And defender Silva, who plays with all three players in Paris, believes Neymar could replicate the exploits of France forward Mbappe and Uruguay striker Cavani.

“Yesterday, when the (France and Uruguay) games were over, I thought the same thing, that Neymar will have his way in our match,” said Silva at Brazil’s pre-match press conference.

“They (Mbappe and Cavani) were both fundamental for the victories.

“I think Paris St Germain is very well represented (at the World Cup), but now we are talking about the Brazilian national team and I think our team is very balanced.

“In the right moments, we have the right freedom for the strikers to do what they do best.

“We hope tomorrow is going to be a great and Neymar is inspired as well as the other players.”

Left-back Marcelo will be absent for the five-time champions in Samara after he was forced off injured in the final group game against Serbia, with Felipe Luis set to deputise.

Thiago Silva

Coach Tite was impressed with how Neymar performed against the Serbians as the player continues his recovery from foot surgery.

“He played very, very well against Serbia. I told him, ‘We know the price you have paid to climb back to this level’,” said Tite.

“He did everything we asked tactically, defending the full-back, and looked for goal, to dribble and run with the ball.”

Mexico helped eliminate defending champions Germany in the group stages as they reached the last 16 for the seventh successive World Cup.

They appeared on course to top Group F before a 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their third match left them in second place and facing a tough tie against Brazil.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio described Brazil as the best team in the world, but insists his players will attack, despite the tricky draw.

“We won’t sit back and wait, Brazil’s attackers are too good for that to be the right plan,” said the Colombian.

“We will stick to our idea of having at least four or five attacking players.

“I really think this is going to be a great opportunity for Mexican football to face, in the round of 16, the best team on the planet.

“And I think that we will have to play to to our full potential.

“It’s going to be a great game, especially for the neutrals.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

Most popular

Luis Rubiales has no regrets over Julen Lopetegui sacking despite Spain's last-16 exit

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales insists he has no regrets over the decision to sack coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup despite La Roja’s failure to progress beyond the last 16 in Russia.

Lopetegui had been unbeaten in his 20 matches in charge but was relieved of his duties just days before Spain’s opening match against Portugal after agreeing to become the new Real Madrid boss after the tournament.

Fernando Hierro was named as stand-in coach and, although Spain finished top of Group B to reach the knockout stages, they made it no further after losing on penalties to Russia on Sunday.

Rubiales stood by his decision to dismiss Lopetegui and praised the work done by Hierro and his team.

He also said the Federation would now look at what direction to take with regards the next Spain coach.

“I don’t regret the decision taken with Lopetegui because it was done with conviction and values that aren’t influenced by subsequent results,” he said in quotes reported by the Spanish press.

Julen Lopetegui

“When a decision is made with responsibility and, above all, with values, one has to be calm.

“All my board of directors gave me unanimous support, we are very calm.

“Now we need to analyse things and see what’s best for the national team and the Federation.

“What I have clear is that I’m proud of the way Hierro and his staff have behaved. He (Hierro) has assumed this responsibility with bravery.

“In the coming weeks we will see what’s best for everyone.

“You’re always learning things, now it’s very difficult to analyse everything in an hour.

“We’re the toughest judges of ourselves and we’ll see what things can be improved.

“I’m very proud of my staff and I give them a 10. Pain? Yes, we were better, but this is sport. You must congratulate Russia.”

spain 42243

Spain, the 2010 world champions, saw their hopes of glory this summer ended by the host nation despite dominating possession at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

The match finished 1-1 after extra-time, Artem Dzyuba’s 41st-minute penalty cancelling out Sergei Ignashevich’s early own goal, and it was Russia who emerged winners when goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas.

“In sport, the best don’t always win. We’ve seen great teams who have been knocked out,” said Rubiales
“Of more than 200 countries who take part only one can win, and we’ve been among the best 16.

“I’m convinced that 99 per cent would say that Spain have been much better (than Russia).

“Of course it’s painful, but when you do things with conviction you need to be calm.”

Most popular