2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 Recap of Spain-Russia and Croatia-Denmark

Russia upsets Spain on penalties to advance to the quarterfinals

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Spain-Russia www.dw.com

Another day goes by at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and another strong contender for the World Cup is eliminated. Spain goes out after losing to the hosts Russia on a penalty shootout after the game was tied at 1-1 after regulation and extra time.

The Spanish would score the first goal of the match off a set piece in the 12th minute through an own goal by Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich, Ignashevich also became the oldest player to score an own goal at a World Cup. Spain would dominate rest of the half, actually rest of the game, with possession but failed to use that advantage to their favor.

There was no desire, no creativity from this Spanish side; it seems like the last time Spain was motivated at a major tournament was at EURO 2012, when they won it. That attitude would come back to pay as Russia would receive a penalty in the 41st minute after Pique clearly plays the ball with his hand in the box, which is always a penalty. Artem Dzyuba would step up to the spot for Russia and would calmly slot it in to tie the game 1-1 going into halftime.

The second half was not appealing to anyone, besides the last 15 minutes of the match when the Spanish decided to go for the winner. In the 85th minute, Andres Iniesta had a half-volley shot blocked by the Russian goalie, which was Spain’s best chance at scoring after their first and only goal. The game finished 1-1 and would go into extra time, the first time at this World Cup we go into extra time.

Nothing major to report from the extra time period; in those 30 minutes, Russia defended while Spain passed the ball around in Russia’s side of the pitch. There was a claim for a penalty for Spain in the second half of extra time but the referee denied. After those extra 30 minutes, the game was still tied, meaning we go into our first penalty shootout at this year’s World Cup.

In the penalty shootout, Russian captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev made two penalty saves while Russia connected on all four of their penalties to send Russia through to the quarterfinals. This is Russia’s first quarterfinals appearance at a World Cup.  Spain goes home early once again at a major tournament, there may be changes coming to the Spanish national team as many players are expected to retire from international play. Russia will face the winner of the Croatia-Denmark game in the quarterfinals.

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Croatia-Denmark www.msn.com

Subašić the hero as Croatia advances to the quarterfinals

All the major action from the first 90 minutes came within the first four minutes of the match. In the first minute of the game, from a long throw-in from the Danes, the ball scrambles into Croatia’s box and Mathias Jorgensen is able to get a shot through which finishes in the back of the net through a deflection from the Croatian goalie Danijel Subašić.

Croatia would fire back quickly, in the fourth minute of the game after another scramble, this time in Denmark’s box, Mario Mandžukić a half-volley to level the score at 1-1. Croatia was the dominant team in the first half and probably should have had a 2-1 going into halftime. Croatia had a claim for the penalty after Mandžukić was dragged by his shirt in the box but the referee did not want any of it, Lovren let a chance slip in the 39th minute when his header went just wide.

In the second half the Croats slowed down and did not play the way they played in the first half; the second half was rather even possibly the Danes were a bit better in that half. Croatia started to attack more in the last 15 minutes of the game looking for the game-winning goal. Regulation would finish at 1-1 and we would go into extra time, second extra time played on the day.

Nothing much happened in both halves in extra time until the 114th minute. In the 114th minute Luka Modrić sends Ante Rebić a beautiful through ball giving him a 1v1 with the keeper, he then runs by the keeper and right before he gets the shot off he gets tacked by Danish defender and goal scorer M.Jorgensen.

This resulted in a penalty for Croatia and just a yellow card for M.Jorgensen, which arguably should have been a straight red. Modrić steps up to spot, already scored a penalty at this World Cup against Nigeria, and Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel saves the penalty and keeps the game at 1-1. And after extra time the game stayed at 1-1 which means a penalty shootout.

This penalty shootout was a duel between the two goalkeepers, whenever one made a save the other would as well. The same order continued till the fifth penalty; Danish striker Nicolai Jorgensen sees his penalty saved by Subašić and Ivan Rakitić goes up to take the potential game-winning penalty. Rakitić steps up a calmly sends the keeper the other way and winning the game for Croatia and sending them to their first quarterfinals appearance at World Cup since 1998. Croatia will take on the hosts Russia in the quarterfinals in Sochi on July 7th at 2pm ET.

 

Dino Pavleka: @dino_ATL

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