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"Now we have to go forward".

He then roared on his teammates from the substitute's bench as they kept the 120-minute match deadlocked before claiming the penalty shootout 4-3 against their heavily favoured opponents.

Akinfeev's penalty heroics led goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel to say that the Russian Federation 'keeper "deserves a statue" in his honor.

By reaching the round of 16, the hosts were already guaranteed their best World Cup finish in the post-Soviet era.

Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest scorer of an own goal in World Cup history when the 38-year-old gave Spain an early lead at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Russia's defence was almost superhuman as they closed down the more talented Spaniards without flagging for 120 minutes, maintaining their shape and never allowing themselves to be exposed even when they mounted a rare counterattack. However, Cherchesov refused to get carried away and spoke like a man on a mission after his side booked a quarter-final clash with Croatia or Denmark. When Rodrigo charged down the right flank, he forced a good save from Igor Akinfeev, before Dani Carvajal mishit the rebound.

It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and coach Fernando Hierro, who replaced Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid's offer to be their manager.

Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez were the twin hearts of Spain's rise, offensive metronomes who elevated tiki-taka to supremacy at Barcelona and Spain.

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.

Pique protested but had left an arm raised when Dzyuba headed goal wards and the burly Zenit forward lashed the resultant spot-kick low into the bottom corner for his third goal of the tournament.

Denis Cheryshev was born in Russian Federation but spent most of his life in Spain because his father Dmitry, also a professional player, played and coached at several clubs in the country. "We really want to keep it like that", he said.

More than 74 percent possession, an astonishing 1,137 passes and utter territorial domination, yet the only statistic that counted in the end for Spain was the two penalties they missed after they strangled themselves out of the World Cup on Sunday.

With 35 minutes on the clock Spain had made 300 passes to the 63 of Russian Federation but had not mustered a single effort on target and led only through Sergei Ignashevich's comical own goal. But he then saved from Koke (inset) and, decisively, Iago Aspas in the shoot-out.

Russian striker Artem Dzyuba converted the penalty into a goal as Spanish goalkeeper David DeGea jumped to the wrong side.

Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov could smell a major upset, introducing Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev, who hit three goals in the group stage, while Spain sent for Andres Iniesta, who had started 21 consecutive matches at global tournaments.


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