MOSCOW (AP) — Upload this on your ebook of Russian proverbs: He who best passes is handed.
Mighty Spain ruled the sphere at Luzhniki Stadium, dulled the senses with mind-numbing ball motion across the perimeter of the penalty space Sunday.
It was once the vintage “tiki-taka” taste that ended in a Global Cup identify in 2010, bookended via a couple of Eu Championships. The Spaniards would cross a crew into confusion after which strike.
However this time, they simply handed side-to-side, on occasion backwards, nearly by no means to assault.
Ownership football seems to be a relic, in a position for a show case in football’s model of the Hermitage museum. Russia received a Global Cup knockout recreation for the primary time for the reason that Soviet Union in 1966, defeating Spain Four-Three on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie . Russia is going to the quarterfinals towards Croatia, whilst Spain is going house.
“The whole lot is converting,” Spain trainer Fernando Hierro mentioned thru a translator. “Traits alternate.”
Spain made 1,137 passes and finished 1,029, in line with FIFA. Stat corporate Opta mentioned that was once essentially the most because it began maintaining observe in 1966.
By contrast, Russia has finished the similar selection of passes — 1,029 — in 4 fits on the Global Cup. Russia were given the victory Sunday making 202 of 285 passes.
Russian trainer Stanislav Cherchesov used a five-man defensive again line for the primary time on this Global Cup. Requested why, he concept again to the 2008 Eu Championship, the place Russia misplaced to Spain Four-1 in its opener and Three-Zero within the semifinals.
“Allow us to say this overtly, they’re higher than us in some ways,” he mentioned. “So I do not imagine that we must possibility going ahead.”
Russia is ranked 70th on the earth, the bottom within the box, and Spain is 10th. House supporters with red-white-and-blue wigs and painted faces appeared ready for an unsatisfied finishing out of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, particularly after Marco Asensio’s loose kick ricocheted off a calf of defender Sergei Ignashevich within the 12th minute and previous goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for an personal purpose.
The hosts have staged a advantageous match, stuffed with smiles, solyanka and samovars — and a little of vodka, too. They swiftly complex. Dropping to an international energy within the around of 16 could be no disgrace.
However Gerard Pique’s penalty put the Russian’s again within the fit.
Pique, considered one of 3 starters left who performed within the 2010 ultimate victory over the Netherlands, was once known as for a blatant hand ball, jumping right into a leaping jack as Artyom Dzyuba’s header bounced off his left arm. Pique wagged a finger at Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers, however the resolution stood.
In just about his best motion earlier than the shootout, goalkeeper David De Gea dived proper because the Dzyuba’s 1/3 purpose of the match went to his left.
Spanish King Felipe VI, available for the 2010 ultimate in South Africa, was once right here for this one, too, exhorting his countrymen on. However whilst Spain completed with 75 p.c ownership, it scored not more targets.
As rain got here down, each and every crew made its first two kicks within the shootout, however Akinfeev dived proper and with a two-handed punch stopped Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion. Alexander Golovin put Russia forward, Sergio Ramos retied it and Denis Cheryshev gave Russia a Four-Three lead.
Akinfeev dived proper on Iago Aspas’ kick and along with his trailing left leg booted the ball to protection. Russia had the third-greatest dissatisfied via differential for the reason that FIFA ratings began in 1992, at the back of Nigeria’s win over France in 1998 and South Africa’s victory over France in 2010, each within the team degree.
Spain has long gone 3 instantly main tournaments with out a identify.
“In 2008, ’10, ’12, neatly, we had the gamers we had, and we performed at a degree, with a method had no one had carried out earlier than,” mentioned Hierro, who took over as trainer when Julen Lopetegui was once fired two days earlier than Spain’s opener. “Now we are in 2018, and lots of issues have modified. Now we see that individuals are taking part in with a line of 5 that we concept were forgotten.”
Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez have been the dual hearts of Spain’s upward push, offensive metronomes who increased tiki-taka to supremacy at Barcelona and Spain. Hernandez is 38 and left the nationwide crew after Spain’s first-round removal in 2014. Iniesta, 34, mentioned this defeat was once his finale.
“What is vital is to search out the path to good fortune, which isn’t simple,” he mentioned. “It’s extra sophisticated than what it sort of feels. The nationwide crew will push forward as it nonetheless has gamers of high quality and that is the reason what they want to take a look at.”
Pique is 31 and Ramos 32, the ultimate mainstays of Spain’s technology of greatness. To upward push once more, the Spanish must evolve.
“We have now our id. Spain’s id is recognizable,” Hierro mentioned. “We have now our character, and this can be a excellent factor.”
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