2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA | ROUND OF 16
SPAIN v RUSSIA
LUZHNIKI STADIUM, MOSCOW
JULY 1ST 2018
- Russia defeated Spain 1-1 on 4-3 on penalties
- 12’ Own Goal – by Sergei Ignashevich (CB – Russia)
- 41’ Penalty – Yellow Card – Gerard Pique (CB – Spain)
- 42’ Penalty Converted – Dzyuba (ST – Russia)
- 120’ Extra Time – Completed
- 120’ + 1 Penalty Shootout
- Iniesta officially retired from international football.
FIFA MAN OF THE MATCH
Igor Akinfeev – GK RUSSIA
Russia continued to shock the world of soccer and light up the country, as the host defeated 2010 World Cup Champion – Spain on penalties.
For most of the game, Russia withstands their ground, defending in numbers allowing Spain to possess the ball. Something the world knows so well.
Their passing and ball possession is the name of their game and it was again today the case as Spain completed 91% of their 1137 passes, most of them between the defenders of Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba to Koke and Isco.
A record for the most attempted passes by one team at a world cup. Russia attempted just 285 passes for the entire match completed 71% of those passes.
That made it completely easy for Russia to defend because nothing was going forward no crosses into the box for their big striker Diego Costa who was completely absent today because of the lack of creativity from midfield and from their wing players.
Hierro Fernando, who took over just 1 week before the World Cup, drop both Andres Iniesta, Thiago, and Carvajal in favor of Marco Asensio, Nacho, and Koke. All three players were never a factor going forward for Spain today. Nacho won a free kick that lead to Spain opening goal, an own goal off Russian Defender Sergei Ignashevich in the 12min of the match and that was it.
Asensio was completely absent and was finally taken off during extra time in favor of Rodrigo, who came on to give a little spark at the end between him and Iniesta and Iago Aspas. All three completely changed the attacking side of the game for the Spanish making me wonder why Iniesta didn’t start.
Up until the penalty goal by Artem Dzyuba in the 42nd minute of the match, the Spaniards did not have a single shot on goal. In the end, they had 25 attempted shots with only 6 on target, and 10 block shots from the Russian defense.
The Spaniards 6 shots on target were due to Iago Aspas and Rodrigo coming on. The rest of the team was a complete disappointment. Isco just dribbles, dribbles at times it seems that was the only thing he could do. He holds on to the ball for way too long all ways looking to take players on trying to do it all by himself and wasn’t looking for the cutting teammates.
I completely forgot about Sergio Busquets, and Silva, both was nowhere to be found. Busquets much like Diego Costa didn’t see much of the ball or maybe I didn’t notice because I couldn’t at times find him on the pitch. For Silva, he been lights out all season long for the Citizens, much like De Gea for Manchester United but failed to show up this world cup.
After 120min of soccer and over 74% possession Spain only had 6 shots on target; that was completely unaccepted for the quality of players Spain Possess. I say that because there was completely no attacking done by Spain for 85% of the game and neither did Russia.
Yes, the Russian defense was strong, and they are playing with house money, however, they just sat back and invited Spain in while they waited for a miss pass or miss touch for the counter-attack, which did not work at all for them. It got their legs tired faster with Spain’s quick passing.
Near to the end of the second half the Russian began to cramp, and legs began to get weak you would think that Spain will now hit the killer blow, no they just pass, pass, pass while Iago Aspas, Rodrigo, and Iniesta sparks, the rest of the team themselves looked tired and couldn’t wait for the penalty shootout.
Heading into penalties the Russian with all the momentum on their side. The captain Igor Akinfeev steps up on the goal line and became an icon saving not one but two penalties, first that of Koke, and now that legendary kick save of Iago Aspas shot, grabbing the match, grabbing the men of the match, and became a legend all while sending the best from FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and, 2010 World Cup Champs home.
It was a very deserved win for the host they put in the hardest shift of the two teams. Players, coach, and fans of this world cup learned so much about the game of soccer, and now Spain learned something first hand. You can have the best players in the world from the two biggest soccer club in the world, but you can’t fire your coach a week before the biggest competition in the world and replace him with a director who has never coach.
You can see it in the way they play from the very first match vs Portugal, the third match vs Morocco and now the Round of 16 vs Russia. The team just look completely lost on the pitch and struggle throughout the competition. Remember players play the game, however, it’s the managers who control the game, and make the important decisions. This mistake is something that will haunt players, fans, for years to come.
Spain now exits the 2018 World Cup in Russia with records: the first team to ever make 1 thousand passes in a World Cup match and according to FIFA the biggest upset in the knockout stages of the World Cup in history and the 3rd largest at any stage of the World Cup in history. A very unfortunate way for Andres Iniesta to end what was a magnificent career for the FC Barcelona midfielder, who scored the winning goal for Spain at the 2018 World Cup in South Africa.
- The Spaniards are heading home for a much-needed break from a long football season.
- The Russians move on to face Croatia Next Saturday, July 7 in Sochi.