World Cup day 18 in a nutshell: Spot-on Russia and Croatia advance to the last eight
Last Updated: 02/07/18 3:49pm
We round up Sunday's talking points from the World Cup as hosts Russia stun Spain to progress to the last eight of the tournament, where they will face Croatia.
Stanislav Cherchesov's side edged their more-fancied opponents 4-3 on penalties after the two nations failed to be separated following 120 minutes of football in the Russian capital.
Later in the day, Croatia and Denmark's last-16 clash also went all the way to penalties, with the former emerging victorious after a 3-2 win in the shootout.
All of which means we now know the second of the quarter-final line-up.
Each day during the tournament we'll be rounding up all the big stories and best reaction right here, so you don't miss a thing.
Here are the highlights from day 18 at the World Cup…
Spain 1-1 Russia (Russia win 4-3 on penalties)
Igor Akinfeev was the hero as Russia reached the World Cup quarter-finals in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Spain.
Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas during a nerve-jangling finale at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium as the delirious hosts ousted the 2010 champions and booked a last-eight showdown with Croatia or Denmark.
Sergei Ignashevich had unwittingly handed the 2010 champions a 12th-minute lead after tussling with Sergio Ramos, only for Artem Dzyuba to cancel out the own goal with a well-struck penalty (41) after Gerard Pique was punished for handball.
Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)
Ivan Rakitic was the matchwinner as Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties to book a World Cup quarter-final showdown with hosts Russia.
Just hours after the hosts had sealed their place in the last eight on spot-kicks, Croatia followed suit in Nizhny Novgorod as the last-16 round continued to thrill, Rakitic holding his nerve after Nicolai Jorgensen saw his effort saved.
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.
But Rakitic spared his team-mate in the shootout as Zlatko Dalic's side reached the last eight for the first time since 1998.
Mathias Jorgensen had bundled Denmark ahead with just 57 seconds gone, before Mario Mandzukic hit back (4) inside a breathless opening five minutes but a tactical shift from Denmark snuffed out Croatia's threat until the dramatic denouement rendered their efforts in vain.
Moment of the day
A whole nation held its breath as striker Iago Aspas walked up to take Spain's fifth and final penalty against Russia in the Luzhniki Stadium.
The Spaniard's had to find the back of the net after Koke's earlier miss, however, for the second time in the shootout Russia No 1 Igor Akinfeev guessed right.
The experienced CSKA shot stopper dived to his right and with his outstretched boot somehow managed to divert Aspas's shot to safety as the hosts progressed to the quarter-finals 4-3 on penalties.
The key quotes
I'm not an opportunist. The situation was what it was, there is no sense in looking back. I put my head on the line to be coach two days before the Portugal match. I thought I had to do it and I accept the consequences
Thank God, we were lucky, that's it. In the second half, we were trying to defend. We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened
Sometimes the endings are not as one dreams. It is a reality that is my last match with the national team - at an individual level a wonderful stage is over. Overall, it is surely the saddest day of my career
Stat of the day
Tweet of the day
In the news
Spain set a World Cup record for completed passes in a game. But it counted for nothing in the end as the 2010 champions failed to make good use of the ball before losing a penalty shootout to Russia.
FIFA's in-game analysis showed Spain's players successfully passed to each other 1,029 times against Russia in Sunday's round-of-16 game. That's more than eight passes per minute and more than 12 of the 32 World Cup teams managed in all of their three group-stage games combined.
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.
FIFA approved the new rule in March for an additional substitute in extra time at the World Cup, but had earlier used it at youth tournaments and the 2016 Olympic football tournaments.
The rule is aimed at reducing injuries and allowing higher-quality play in extra time, when players are most tired.
Yerokhin replaced fellow midfielder Daler Kuzyaev. The score was 1-1 at the end of regulation time in the round-of-16 game.
Spain made its extra substitution about seven minutes later when Rodrigo Moreno replaced Marco Asensio.
Spain and Russia used their three allowed substitutions in regulation.
Meanwhile, Mark Geiger has been assigned to referee Tuesday's World Cup last-16 match between England and Colombia, four years after he became the first American to officiate in the knockout stage of soccer's showcase.
This will be the sixth World Cup match for the 43-year-old former maths teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, and the third at this tournament. He refereed Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco and Germany's 2-0 loss to South Korea, which eliminated the defending champions.
Four years ago in Brazil, Geiger took charge of Chile's 2-0 win over Spain and Colombia's 3-0 victory against Greece in the group stage, and France's 2-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16.
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