4th substitute? Russia make World Cup history

Marcus Newton
July 2, 2018

Spain head coach Fernando Hierro comforts Spain's Koke after his team lost by penalty shootout during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 1, 2018.

Spain led in the 12th minute when Ramos helped force Russia's Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal when his back was turned to the play.

Russia's defence then held firm as Spain dominated possession before the heroics of Akinfeev triggered wild celebrations in the rain.

Denmark coach Age Hareide said his side's match against Croatia could boil down to who comes out on top in the midfield battle between Tottenham powerhouse Christian Eriksen and Modric.

In that game, Russia's Alexander Yerokhin became the first player to be brought on as a fourth substitute during a World Cup match, going on in the 97th minute against Spain.

Though Spain completed a World Cup game record of 1,029 passes, it rarely threatened Akinfeev's goal.

Hierro's side defended better than in previous games, mostly due to taking fewer risks in possession and giving Russian Federation few chances to counterattack.

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Ivan Rakitic was the matchwinner as Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties to book a World Cup quarter-final showdown with hosts Russian Federation.

Spain, who parted ways with coach Julen Lopetegui just days before the tournament, joined England and Italy as the only teams to lose three shootouts at the World Cup, having been knocked out by hosts South Korea in 2002 and Belgium in 1986, both in the quarterfinals. "I believe there is a responsibility, Spain feels this and so does Russian Federation".

"In 2008, '10, '12, well, we had the players we had, and we played at a level, with a style had nobody had done before, " said Hierro, who took over as coach when Julen Lopetegui was sacked two days before Spain's opener.

Kasper Schmeichel - roared on by watching father Peter in the stands - had denied Luka Modric from the spot deep into extra-time (116) after Mathias Jorgensen had lunged in on Ante Rebic with the game tied at 1-1. "We didn't play quite the way we wanted but it's hard when you don't have the ball and you spend that much time defending". They stuck to their plan of keeping the ball moving and waiting for gaps to open, not getting flustered despite being taken to extra time, although even that positive does not look so clever now. The 34-year-old Barcelona midfielder came off the bench and nearly won the game with an 85th-minute shot well saved by Akinfeev. Hernandez is 38 and left the national team after Spain's first-round elimination in 2014.

"To be a strong team is one thing, but you have to be the best on the pitch". There have been a number of own goals so far, Spain benefitting from the latest one as Ignashevich scored at the wrong end as far as Russian Federation were concerned.

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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