Croatian president sees Russian Federation as worthy opponent in 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Modric didn't hide in the penalty shootout. Russian Federation will face either Croatia or Denmark in the quarter-finals.

EXHAUSTION The home crowd greeted the arrival of extra time as if they had won the World Cup but Spain, seeing several of their rivals dropping to the floor with cramp and exhaustion, were no doubt confident that the hosts would eventually crack if they just kept rolling the ball from side to side.

"I'm proud of them as captain because we put our souls into trying to win out there".

Akinfeev made an incredible save, kicking the attempt down the middle away with his boot and sending the host nation on to the quarterfinals.

Spain has now failed to win a knockout game at three major tournaments since it won the 2012 European championship, its third straight major title after the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. "I accept the responsibility, I am the head coach". Lopetegui was axed by the Spanish federation with the team already in Russia after agreeing a deal to become the Real Madrid coach next season.

Rodrigo almost won it five minutes later, when he beat his man with a dummy, sprinted into the box and fired a shot Akinfeev again did well to save.

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And it was those two who almost won it for Spain with five minutes to go, when first Iniesta and then Aspas fired shots at Akinfeev's goal - only for the skipper to parry both away.

Five minutes after that, Spain's players were baying for VAR after more grappling in the box.

Instead of waking from their slumber, La Roja continued tempting fate by reducing the game to a turgid affair of insomnia-inducing passes with no penetration.

It was all pass.pass.pass with no real objective, especially after they got the first goal through Ignashevich's own goal in the 12th minute. He also ensured the game needed 30 extra minutes with back-to-back diving saves in the 85th to deny substitutes Iniesta and Aspas. Artem Dzyuba equalised with a penalty shortly before half-time after Spain defender Gerard Pique was punished for a handball. "The team was under great pressure, but we supported it, and everything turned out successful", the president concluded. In a match where Spain enjoyed 79 per cent of possession, not even the positive impact of another stand-out performance from Isco could break down the Russian Federation defence to give Spain the easy win many had predicted.

Dzyuba's penalty kick fooled goalkeeper David De Gea to dive the wrong way.

King Felipe VI of Spain was at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. However, in truth it was just about the only time the Russian Federation goalkeeper was seriously tested as, despite pinning the hosts deep in their own half for most of the 120 minutes, the 2010 champions managed only nine shots on target - and precious few of those carried any venom.

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