Akinfeev says fans inspired the team against Spain

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Spain went wafting out of the World Cup at the last-16 stage after succumbing to hosts Russian Federation on penalties inside a cacophonous Luzhniki Stadium. The king is a soccer fan who, as crown prince, attended the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg to see Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0.

Sergei Ignashevich had unwittingly handed the 2010 champions a 12th-minute lead after tussling with Sergio Ramos, only for Artem Dzyuba to cancel out the own goal with a well-struck penalty (41) after Gerard Pique was punished for handball.

And, despite his modesty in the minutes following Russia's victory over Spain, Akinfeev was named man of the match for a reason, and there is much to be said for his showing.

It gave Russian Federation its greatest win for 10 years, since Akinfeev was in goal for an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in a European Championship quarterfinal. What a night to be a Muscovite.

"The football god always seemed to be turning away from us, and I think today it's like never before", Dzyuba said.

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England manager Gareth Southgate is expected to bring captain Harry Kane back in to the starting line up for this clash. The Swiss have only lost one match in the past two years, with 15 wins and four draws during that stretch.

The teams started the match quite relaxed.

You would be hard pressed in this sprawling city of 12 million to find anyone who disagreed. Mario Fernandes is granted a starting berth. Spain are now ranked No.10. They simply kept tight to their game plan. He knows instantly he's gone the wrong way and is just hoping to get something on it, and he did.

Russian Federation won a corner through Spanish confusion in defense in the 41st minute, and Alexander Samedov hit the ball for Dzyuba, who headed it straight into Gerard Pique's waving arm.

This will be the sixth World Cup match for the 43-year-old former math teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, and the third at this tournament. Standing on the touchline, Cherchesov could not even bring himself to watch.

Akinfeev came to the rescue again to deny Rodrigo after his fine sprint in the second half of extra time before becoming a national hero by saving the two spot kicks to send the hosts into the last eight. The equalizer came against the run of play. Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin, Sergei Ignashevich and Fedor Smolov converted each of Russia's four efforts from the spot.

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A member of the Lev Yashin Club-an unofficial list of Soviet and Russian football goalkeepers that have achieved 100 or more clean sheets during their professional career- Akinfeev has the most number of clean sheets than any other goalkeeper, making him the greatest shot-stopper in the history of Russia. "But these were good tears", he said in a video released by the Russian team yesterday, less than 24 hours after their penalty shoot-out victory over Spain in the Round of 16.

But Russia did not wilt in the sticky Moscow evening.

The quarter-final, and that chance to extend an already fairy-tale foray, takes place in Sochi in six days' time. What an effort, Luzhniki goes bonkers!

"We don't like this kind of structure but this is what we had to do with three defenders".

"But our medics are working well".

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Spain deserved more from the 120 minutes. "These are very simple, not very sophisticated emotions", he added. "I'm thinking only about the next game".

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