World Cup 2018: Spain v Russia

Tournament hosts Russia look to keep the party going against the might of Spain in Moscow

Patrick Madden Sun, Jul 1
LIVE: World Cup 2018: Spain v Russia

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  • Good afternoon!

    If you aren't fully gripped by World Cup fever by now then you should probably click the big red X on the top right corner of your screen.

    There was a slight worry that after a brilliant group stage the tournament would succumb to the dull grip of stodgy knockout football, à la Brazil 2014.

    Not to fear. Yesterday brought us a bonafide classic as France beat Argentina 4-3. Even Uruguay and Portugal - the two cleansheet specialists - brought us three goals.

    Today Russia take on the mighty Spanish. The hosts blew away two terrible sides in Saudi Arabia and Egypt to qualify for the knockout rounds - they will have their work cut out against Andres Iniesta and co in Moscow.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action from the Luzhniki Stadium, before Croatia take on Denmark tonight - what a time to be alive.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAM NEWS:  

    Spain: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Koke, Busquets; Silva, Isco, Asensio; Costa. Subs: Kepa, Reina, Carvajal, Iniesta, Alcantara, Odriozola, Azpilicueta, Niguez, Vazquez, Machado, Aspas.

    Russia: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Kutepov, Iganshevich, Kudriashov, Zhirkov; Kuziaev, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin; Dzyuba. Subs: Semenov, Cheryshev, Gazinskii, Dzagoev, Smolov, Lunev, Granat, Al Miranchuk, An Miranchuk, Gabulov, Erokhin.

    Referee: B Kuipers (Ned).

  • It seems like a long time ago now - but Spain played the best football of the tournament so far in their opening game, only denied three points by the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo. They had to battle hard against Iran and Morocco, but today's fixture should be the perfect opportunity to spread their wings. Fernando Hierro has picked the thrilling Marco Asensio, while Isco has been arguably the player of the tournament so far.

    Rumours that the world's best goalkeeper - David De Gea - would be dropped have proved unfounded. Rightly so.

  • Bad omen for Spain - Philip 'Pip' Neville has a 'feeling' Russia are going to win.
  • Denis Cheryshev has three goals at the World Cup thus (four if you count his own goal against Uruguay) but he is on the bench this afternoon. Keep an eye out for Aleksandr Golovin - a serious player with a serious engine.
  • 10 mins until kick-off!
  • The teams are out in Moscow.
  • Unsurprisingly, Russia win the anthems.
  • Asensio's selection today means Andres Iniesta is on the bench - a changing of the guard?
  • Here we go then. The hosts against one of the favourites.


  • 1 min: Spain in red, Russia in white. Clumsy foul by Dzyuba on Busquets on halfway - Spain waste no time in taking and begin to stroke the ball around.
  • 2 min: Jeers and whistles meet early Spanish possession. Good luck in keeping that up for the next 90 minutes.
  • 4 min: Russia packing the midfield - Golovin is going to be Dzyuba's support. And he does excellently on the right, beating Ramos and scampering down the touchline, earning a corner kick.
  • 6 min: Already the pattern of the match is set - Spain keeping the ball with Russia holding on and then looking to snipe on the counter.
  • 8 min: Silva caught in possession in the Spanish half - Golovin can't find Dzyuba.
  • 9 min:  Nice ball from Alba to Costa down the left - his cross is turned away. Isco is getting on the ball between the lines which is a dangerous omen for Russia.
  • 10 MIN: SPAIN 0 RUSSIA 0
  • 11 min: Nacho is thumped by Zhirkov on the right - Spanish free-kick, Asensio to take.


  • Asensio swings it towards Sergio Ramos at the back post,  Iganshevich is preoccupied rugby tackling the the Spanish captain - the ball deflects off the back of his leg and into his own goal. An early gift for Spain.

    14 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 0

  • 16 min: Ramos gives the ball away and there's a glimpse for Russia to break - but as ever Spain's work off the ball is tireless and red shirts flood back to cover.
  • 17 min: Sublime touch from Isco on the edge. He looks in the mood.
  • 19 min: A rare and brief foray into the Spanish half for Russia and the move ends with Kuziaev curling a hopeful ball towards the back post.
  • 20 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 0
  • 21 min: Spain are yet to work through the gears here but they look entirely comfortable, knocking the ball around with ease.
  • 22 min: Clumsy foul from Ramos on Dzyuba - chance for Russia to get the ball into the box. Spain clear it.
  • 25 min: Isco puts a foot wrong for the first time - his ball to Alba is overcooked with the left back bursting into the box.  
  • 27 min: A long ball from Russia sparks brief panic and Busquets turns it behind for a corner. The hosts work it short, Costa of all people tracking back and winning it back.
  • 30 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 0
  • 32 min: Spain are knocking it around beautifully now, using the full width of the pitch and waiting for an opening.
  • 33 min: The first Mexican wave of the afternoon. Russia not having a kick.
  • 35 min: A loose Spanish pass and Samedov intercepts - only for the ball to fall to another red shirt.
  • 36 min: Chance for Russia! Another long ball and Dzyuba wrestles Ramos to the floor. It falls for Golovin who schemes and then curls one just wide of the right hand post. First real opening for the hosts.
  • 39 min: The best spell for the hosts. They keep the ball nicely and work it down the right - Ramos looking far from assured as he turns it behind for a corner.  
  • 40 min: Dzyuba heads the corner into Pique's flailing arm - it was far too high. No complaints.

    Dzyuba to take. . .



  • Out of nowhere, the hosts are level. Good penalty - sending De Gea the wrong way.

    We've got a game on our hands.

    42 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 1

  • 45 min: Good play from Costa and the brilliant Isco whips a shot towards the far corner which is vitally blocked.

    Moments later a stunning ball is threaded into the box but Akinfeev is quick off his line to close down Costa.

  • The teams are back out for the second half - one change for Russia, Granat on for Zhirkov.

    We're back underway!

  • 47 min: Spain threatening from the off, Isco involved again. The ball is worked into the box and ricochets off Costa towards the Russian goal - Akinfeev has to be alert.
  • 49 min: The atmosphere in Moscow is pretty dull, considering the hosts are involved. Spain knocking it around. . .
  • 50 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 1
  • 51 min: Free-kick for Spain out on the right touchline after a foul from Golovin. Koke whips it in, Costa heads miles over.
  • 53 min: Asensio cuts back inside and whips a great ball towards the back post - Isco heads it back across goal but Costa can't pounce.

    Moments later Kutepov is booked for a foul on Isco.

  • 54 min: Asensio takes the free-kick but his delivery is poor and is turned away at the near post. Russia try to break through Golovin but Nacho sweeps up.
  • 57 min: Samedov shunts over Ramos but gets away with it and Russia have a corner. Spain clear it once, twice, three times before Golovin handles and gives away a free-kick.
  • 58 min: Excellent ball from Isco to Costa - he runs onto the return ball but is forced wide. Spain still looking for that killer pass.
  • 60 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 1
  • 61 min: For all their possession, Spain are yet to really rattle Russia since the break.  
  • 65 min: Goalscorer Dzyuba replaced by Smolov. Won't be able to take a penno in the shootout. . .

  • 66 min: Good change of pace from Golovin but he throws himself to the ground rather than looknig to cross. No chance.

    Iniesta is on for Silva, who's been poor.

  • 69 min: Sustained, but not incisive, possession for Spain. Carvajal on for Nacho.
  • 70 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 1
  • 72 min: It already feels like this game is meandering towards extra-time.
  • 72 min: Hierro, in his white shirt, is prowling and scowling in his technical area. He obviously learned a lot off Big Sam during his season at Bolton Wanderers - although there's no sign of a pint of wine, yet.
  • 75 min: Lovely ball from Iniesta into Costa but he fluffs his lines when he takes the return pass. Spain have ownership of the ball but they haven't forced Akinfeev to make a save.
  • 78 min: Patient, laborious stuff from Spain. We really don't need extra-time here.

    Iago Aspas replaces Costa.

  • 80 MIN: SPAIN 1 RUSSIA 1
  • 81 min: Searching ball from Iniesta towards Aspas in the box - Kutepov turns it behind for a corner. Great ball in and Busquets completely miskicks on the penalty spot.
  • 83 min: Kutepov again with an excellent clearance after a good ball in from Koke.

    Somebody score, please.

  • 85 min: Finally, finally Akinfeev is brought into action. Slicker Spanish build-up and Aspas chests it to Iniesta on the edge - his effort is well saved. Aspas drags the follow-up across goal.
  • 86 min: A chance for Russia to break but they make a hash of it.
  • 88 min: Cheryshev fouls on the left, chance for Spain to get the ball into the box. They work it short, Isco wins a corner.
  • 89 min: It's curled towards Pique, his header is deflected for another corner. The second delivery is poor from Isco but it's turned behind again. Third-time lucky, Ramos heads it over.
  • 90 min: There'll be four minutes of added time.


  • 93 min: Spain give the ball away and Smolov has it in the box, he shifts onto his right but can't get his foot round it.

  • Extra-time. . .
  • We're underway in extra-time!
  • ET 1 min: Spain nearly in straight away, Carvajal unable to get onto a ball inside the box. Expect a lot of one way traffic.
  • ET 3 min: Bit more gusto from Spain now, they look a bit livelier. Be interesting to see if Russia's legs last. . .
  • ET 4 min: Iniesta fouled on the edge but the ref doesn't give it. Probably had a word in the ear from Vlad.
  • ET 6 min: Spain probing on the edge of the Russian box - they're not having much joy. Koke sends a hopeful effort mile, miles over.
  • ET 8 min: Another Russian change - Erokhin on for Kuziaev. It's their fourth sub - you're allowed an extra one in extra-time now.
  • ET 9 min: Isco and Aspas run into each other in the box. Asensio then hits one straight as Akinfeev.
  • ET 12 min: Iniesta plays it over the top for Aspas - four white shirts quickly crowd him out.  
  • ET 14 min: Asensio hasn't had the electric impact on this game you would have expected - he's replaced by Rodrigo, another Bolton legend.
  • ET 15 min: Lovely run from Iniesta but he's tackled by Golovin, who then goes through Isco and concedes a free-kick.

    The ball is curled in and Pique flicks a header towards goal but it's easy for Akinfeev.

  • So who's looking forward to penalties?
  • We're back underway!
  • ET 16 min: Spain have played 1027 passes and counting. One measly own goal to show for it.
  • ET 17 min: Excellent dummy and burst from Rodrigo on the right, he skins one and surges into the box, forcing a sharp save from Akinfeev. Carvajal follows up but slips and his effort is blocked.
  • ET 22 min: Lovely sharp ball into Rodrigo on the edge by Iniesta, and he turns it round for corner for Aspas who can't quite take it in his stride. Spain having a real go here but the hosts are resilient.
  • ET 23 min: Isco earns a free-kick out on the left. He curls it in towards Ramos who flicks it beyond the far post.

    Spain go mad - they think there's a foul in the box. The referee checks with VAR. . . no penalty. I think the V there stood for Vladimir.

  • ET 26 min: Busquets gives the ball away on the byline in his own box - he's reprieved by a poor pass from Smolov.
  • ET 27 min: Russian corner from the right - flicked clear. Tense.
  • ET 29 min: Alba plays a one two with Iniesta but the return ball is overcooked - not often you see that.


  • Ah the thrill of the penalty shootout. A decent reward for sitting through 120 minutes of that.
  • First up it's Spain and Andres Iniesta.
  • GOAL! Iniesta sends Akinfeev the wrong way.


  • Smolov to take Russia's first pen.

    GOAL! Smolov checks his run, De Gea should have saved it.


  • Pique next for Spain.

    GOAL! Drills it hard into the bottom left corner.


  • Iganshevich for Russia. . .



  • Koke for Spain. . .

    SAVED!!!!!!! Straight down the middle, Akinfeev saves!

    SPAIN 2   RUSSIA 2

  • Golovin to make it advantage Russia...

    SCORES!!! Thrashes it through De Gea.


  • Here comes Sergio Ramos.

    GOAL!!! Sends the 'keeper the wrong way.


  • Cheryshev up for Russia. . .



  • Aspas has to score. . .



  • That was a great save from Akinfeev.
  • Right, thanks for joining.  

    I'll be covering Croatia against Denmark in a few minutes - see you there!