Cherchesov backs Russia’s style after victory over Spain

06 July, 2018, 04:47 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Russia stun Spain on penalties to make last eight

Spain was so dominant in the first half that it almost made it to halftime with a one-goal lead despite taking no shots: its opening goal came off the right ankle of Ignashevich, who unwittingly scored the World Cup's 10th own goal - a record that continues to grow - as he fell to the ground while tangling with Sergio Ramos on a free kick in the 12th minute.

To say Spain played Russian Federation to a draw was technically true. Still, World Cup history was on Russia's side after its well-organized team survived two hours of barely having the ball.

Russia's first win over Spain since the breakup of the Soviet Union books the hosts a place in the quarter-finals, where either Denmark or Croatia await.

Hosts Russia, meanwhile, produced one of the most negative performances of the tournament, or perhaps any tournament, protecting their three-man central defensive line with a six-man midfield and getting everybody behind the ball, defending deep inside their own half and only very rarely showing any kind of attacking intent.

But it wasn't enough as Koke and Iago Aspas were denied by Akinfeev from the spot.

That move - and Russia's tedious negativity - helped Spain establish firm control over the flow and tempo of the game, with Koke's tactical awareness and excellent pressing playing a big role in winning back the ball quickly and keeping the action nearly entirely inside Russia's half. There are 15 players who have given everything, I have absolutely no complaint.

Lamenting his side's failure to make more of their chances, he said it was a great shame two years of hard work and good results had come to an end "in a shoot-out which is basically a lottery and we weren't lucky".

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara. "We will do our utmost, please, support us, and we will delight you with the game".

Andres Iniesta came on for Silva and Nacho was replaced by Dani Carvajal in another Spain switch with 20 minutes remaining.

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That proved the cue for a good spell of possession as the first half entered its final five minutes, which brought another corner when a cross cannoned off Koke and behind.

And Russia were then gifted a penalty when Pique handled in the box.

Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament to awaken the subdued crowd.

Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.

Spain finished the half with a burst of activity, registering a couple of efforts, but the next 40 minutes were turgid, a state of affairs not helped by the 25-degree temperature.

Spain coach Fernando Hierro - only appointed two days before the tournament following the shock sacking of Julen Lopetegui - is already being subjected to fierce criticism after his team failed to turn their overwhelming dominance of possession and territory into more penetrating attacking play.

The first of those will be Andres Iniesta, who has the added bitterness of being left on the bench for his final worldwide game. "To be a strong team is one thing, but you have to be the best on the pitch".

By the end of extra-time Fifa's in-game analysis had shown that Spain's players successfully passed to each other 1,029 times - a World Cup record for completed passes in a game.



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