Did Vladimir Putin phone call inspire Russian Federation to beat Spain?

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea

Earlier on Sunday, Russia defeated Spain 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will face the victor in the Round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark that is to be played later in the day in Nizhny Novgorod.

Spain's Iago Aspas shot down the middle, and Akinfeev had jumped to his right.

Spain, buoyed by their breakthrough, were beginning to dominate possession with Russian Federation struggling to find a foothold, but the hosts were briefly boosted when an Dzyuba header from a long free kick caused confusion before Spain whacked it clear.

Dzyuba, unable to contain his delight after keeping his nerve to plant an equalising penalty past David de Gea after Gerard Pique's handball, said he found stepping up to take the penalty intimidating but that the heavens had been on his side.

"I'm not an opportunist", said Hierro, who was part of Lopetegui's coaching staff. Home supporters with red-white-and-blue wigs and painted faces seemed prepared for an unhappy ending out of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, especially after Marco Asensio's free kick ricocheted off a calf of defender Sergei Ignashevich in the 12th minute and past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for an own goal.

They have lost eight of those games, including four at World Cups, the last to South Korea in 2002 - also on penalties.

Russian Federation continued to sit deep and hit Spain on the counter-attack once in a while, which eventually paid off when they equalised five minutes before half-time with the only shot on target they managed in 120 minutes of open play.

Hosts Russia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 1-1 draw on a dramatic afternoon in Moscow.

Russian Federation will now face either Croatia or Denmark in the quarter-final, the first time they have reached the last eight since 1970.

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"We were hoping for penalties", Akinfeev said.

Andres Iniesta came on for Silva and Nacho was replaced by Dani Carvajal in another Spain switch with 20 minutes remaining. Artem Dzyuba equalised moments before half-time and the scene was set for a nervy second-half.

"The critics don't matter so much; we are angry because we weren't capable of taking another step and we didn't rise to the occasion, despite trying everything".

"I don't believe I am the man of the match - that was the whole team and the fans", said captain Akinfeev afterwards.

Aleksandr Yerokhin (for Kuzyaev 97) - 5 - Provided fresh legs for Stanislav Cherchesov's men during extra time.

First Germany, then Lionel Messi's Argentina, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. "I think we should have countered faster".

Russian Federation endured a tense wait when Kuipers was in communication with the video assistant referee following a late tug on Pique in the box, before Akinfeev's shootout heroics clinched an unforgettable triumph.

When Ignashevich wrestled with Ramos for Marcos Asensio's cross on 11 minutes and deflected the ball in, Spain might have expected their opponents to abandon their conservative gameplan.

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