THE MOST FROM THE COAST !

..


 Coastweek website


XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Russia advance to quarterfinals on Sunday with a 4-3 over Spain

By Michael Place MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Hosts Russia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Spain in a dramatic round of 16 clash here.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved the decisive spot-kick from Iago Aspas after Koke also missed by blasting Spain’s third attempt wide. Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin, Sergei Ignashevich and Fedor Smolov converted each of Russia’s four efforts from the spot.

Earlier Sergei Ignashevich struck an own goal before Artem Dzyuba equalized by converting a 41st-minute penalty. The scores were locked 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes and remained unchanged after 30 minutes of extra time.

Russia will now play the winner of the match between Croatia and Denmark in the quarterfinals in Sochi on July 7 while Spain are eliminated.

By reaching the round of 16, the hosts were already guaranteed their best World Cup finish in the post-Soviet era. Now they will be thinking anything is possible as they capitalize on a wide-open draw and fervent support from their home fans.

It was a sad farewell to international football for Spain great Andres Iniesta, who was in tears after the match. Though his powers have waned, Iniesta gave his team a lift when he was introduced as a 67th-minute substitute for David Silva. He also converted his spot-kick in the shootout.

Spain coach Fernando Hierro made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Morocco in their last group match. Iniesta was surprisingly left out, replaced by Marco Asensio on the left side of midfield. Nacho came in for Dani Carvajal at right back and Koke was given a chance in midfield in place of Thiago Alcantara.

Russia were without Igor Smolnikov due to suspension and brought in Brazil-born Mario Fernandes to replace him at right wing-back. Yuri Zhirkov was also recalled to the left-side of defence while Daler Kuzyaev and Golovin returned to the midfield. Cheryshev, Russia’s leading scorer in the competition, was left out of the starting lineup by coach Stanislav Cherchesov.

Spain took the lead in the 12th minute when Isco whipped in a free kick from the right and Ignashevich appeared to drag Sergio Ramos to the ground as he inadvertently sent the ball into the net with his heel.

The 2010 champions looked at ease as they controlled possession and barely allowed Russia to advance beyond the halfway line.

On one of the hosts’ rare forays forward, Roman Zobnin forced Koke to clear the ball behind for a corner with a dangerous cross into the box. From the resultant corner Gerard Pique struck the ball with his right hand and referee Bjorn Kuipers did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Dzyuba then kept his cool by sending David de Gea the wrong way and burying his spot-kick into the bottom right corner.

Spain had a chance to regain the lead just before halftime when Diego Costa ran onto Silva’s pass on the right only to see his shot blocked by goalkeeper Akinfeev.

Both sides seemed content to let the match go into extra time as Spain knocked the ball around with little intensity. They had a rare chance to break the deadlock in the 85th minute when Aspas chested a Jordi Alba cross into the path of Iniesta, whose shot forced a lunging save from Akinfeev. Aspas then thrashed a shot across the face of goal from the rebound.

Smolov then shot wide after a fraught diagonal pass deep in Spain’s own half from Sergio Busquets led to a turnover.

Extra-time did little to create a sense of urgency for either team, although Spain did enjoy the best of the chances. Koke blazed over and Marco Asensio shot straight at Akinfeev after being played into space by Aspas.

The tension was palpable as Spain pressed in the second 15-minute period. Rodrigo turned brilliantly around his marker and made a probing run into the box but his shot was superbly saved by Akinfeev. The rebound fell for Carvajal but Ilya Kutepov was on hand to clear the Real Madrid defender’s shot.

Rodrigo carried Spain’s biggest scoring threat and again forced a smart save from Akinfeev, but Russia stood firm to force the match into a penalty shootout.

.

UPDATES:

Russia eliminate Spain on penalties to advance to World Cup last 8

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Russia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Spain in a dramatic round of 16 clash here.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved the decisive spot-kick from Iago Aspas with his foot after also keeping out Koke’s attempt. Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin, Sergei Ignashevich and Fedor Smolov converted each of Russia’s four efforts from the spot.

Earlier, Sergei Ignashevich struck an own goal before Artem Dzyuba equalized for Russia by converting a 41st-minute penalty. The scores were locked 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes and remained unchanged after 30 minutes of extra time.

Russia will now play the winner of the match between Croatia and Denmark in the quarterfinals in Sochi on July 7 while Spain are eliminated.

“In the second half we were trying to defend,” a jubilant Akinfeev said. “We were hoping for penalties and that’s what happened. We are having a fantastic World Cup.”

By reaching the round of 16, the hosts were already guaranteed their best World Cup finish in the post-Soviet era. Now they will be thinking anything is possible as they capitalize on a wide-open draw and fervent support from their home fans.

It was a sad farewell to international football for Spain great Andres Iniesta, who was in tears after the match. Though his powers have waned, Iniesta gave his team a lift when he was introduced as a 67th-minute substitute for David Silva. He also converted his spot-kick in the shootout.

Spain coach Fernando Hierro made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Morocco in their last group match. Iniesta was surprisingly left out, replaced by Marco Asensio on the left side of midfield. Nacho came in for Dani Carvajal at right back and Koke was given a chance in midfield in place of Thiago Alcantara.

Russia were without Igor Smolnikov due to suspension and brought in Brazil-born Mario Fernandes to replace him at right wing-back. Yuri Zhirkov was also recalled to the left-side of defence while Daler Kuzyaev and Golovin returned to the midfield. Cheryshev, Russia’s leading scorer in the competition, was left out of the starting lineup by coach Stanislav Cherchesov.

Spain took the lead in the 12th minute when Isco whipped in a free kick from the right and Ignashevich appeared to drag Sergio Ramos to the ground as he inadvertently sent the ball into the net with his heel.

The 2010 champions looked at ease as they controlled possession and barely allowed Russia to advance beyond the halfway line.

On one of the hosts’ rare forays forward, Roman Zobnin forced Koke to clear the ball behind for a corner with a dangerous cross into the box. From the resultant corner Gerard Pique struck the ball with his right hand and referee Bjorn Kuipers did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Dzyuba then kept his cool by sending David de Gea the wrong way and burying his spot-kick into the bottom right corner.

Spain had a chance to regain the lead just before halftime when Diego Costa ran onto Silva’s pass on the right only to see his shot blocked by goalkeeper Akinfeev.

Both sides seemed content to let the match go into extra time as Spain knocked the ball around with little intensity. They had a rare chance to break the deadlock in the 85th minute when Aspas chested a Jordi Alba cross into the path of Iniesta, whose shot forced a lunging save from Akinfeev. Aspas then thrashed an effort across the face of goal from the rebound.

Extra-time did little to create a sense of urgency for either team, although Spain did enjoy the best of the chances. Koke blazed over and Marco Asensio shot straight at Akinfeev after being played into space by Aspas.

The tension was palpable as Spain pressed in the second 15-minute period. Rodrigo turned brilliantly around his marker and made a probing run into the box but his shot was superbly saved by Akinfeev. The rebound fell for Carvajal but Ilya Kutepov was on hand to clear the Real Madrid defender’s shot.

Rodrigo carried Spain’s biggest scoring threat and again forced a smart save from Akinfeev, but Russia stood firm to force the match into a shootout.

.

Iniesta: ‘It’s the saddest day of my career’

By Michael Place MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Andres Iniesta described Spain’s World Cup elimination on penalties on Sunday as the saddest day of his career as he confirmed his retirement from international football.

Hosts Russia defeated the 2010 champions 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the scores were tied 1-1 at the end of extra time in their round of 16 duel.

“It’s my last match with the national team,” said Iniesta, who left the Luzhniki Stadium pitch in tears. “It’s a shame we couldn’t go through. Penalties are cruel. The guilty ones are always the players and everyone of us is responsible.”

The scorer of Spain’s winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final added: “At an individual level a great period has finished. Sometimes finals don’t go the way we hope or dream. Overall it’s probably the saddest day of my career. I leave with a bad taste in my mouth. It’s tough for everybody.  On an individual level it hasn’t been the best farewell but football and life is like that.”

Iniesta surprisingly began Sunday’s match on the bench but made an immediate impact after replacing David Silva in the 67th minute with his one-touch passing and clever runs into space. The 34-year-old also forced a lunging save from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with a long-range shot five minutes from time.

He coolly converted Spain’s first penalty attempt in the shootout before Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved shots from Koke and Iago Aspas.

Sunday’s result capped a difficult tournament for Spain. The team’s World Cup plans were thrown into turmoil two days before their first match when coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked after it was revealed he had accepted a position to join Real Madrid.

Iniesta said the players could not blame turbulence off the pitch for their failure to live up to expectations.

“It would be wrong to say that [Lopetegui’s] dismissal was fundamental,” he said. Everything has its importance. But in the end, we are the ones who have the ball.”

Iniesta, who will play for Japanese side Vissel Kobe next season after ending his 22-year Barcelona career in May, is confident Spain can rebuild ahead of the next World Cup in Qatar.

“There are players around, they just have to find a path to success,” he said. “It’s not easy and harder than it appears. But the national team will keep going there are players who have a good level.”

.

Spain World Cup exit not linked to off-field turmoil: Hierro

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Spain coach Fernando Hierro denied his team has been affected by off-field turbulence following their World Cup elimination on Sunday.

Hosts Russia sent the 2010 champions packing with a 4-3 penalty shootout win after the scores were tied 1-1 at the end of extra time in their round of 16 duel.

Spain’s World Cup plans were thrown into turmoil two days before their first match when coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked after it was revealed he had accepted a position to join Real Madrid after the tournament. Hierro, who had been Spain’s director of football, was given the coaching job on an interim basis.

“We came here with ambition and we empathize with our people, those that came all the way to Russia,” Hierro said.  “I don’t think you can talk about the team breaking down or collapsing. There’s a fine line between winning and losing.”

Hierro also paid tribute to midfielder Andres Iniesta, who retired from international football after the match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

“I give my whole hearted recognition to one of the greatest players of our history,” he said. “He’s an outstanding professional. The way he played on the pitch when he substituted on was like he was playing in his first cap and I want to thank him whole-heartedly.”

           

Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !


 

TO ADVERTISE ON THIS WEB SITE:  www.coastweek.com
Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail: info@coastweek.com

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459
e-mail: anjum@asodia.co.ke

 
    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: info@coastweek.com