Hosts Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties on Sunday to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals where they will face Croatia for a place in the semis.

Russia keeper Igor Akinfeev saved Koke’s and Iago Aspas’ spot kicks in their first ever penalty shootout to send the hosts through following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

Spain went ahead after 12 minutes when 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Spain captain Sergio Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.

Gerard Pique’s handball gave Russia a chance to level with a penalty in the 42nd minute. Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament, sending Spain keeper David de Gea the wrong way to equalise.

Spain had to wait until the 85th minute to test Akinfeev with a low drive from substitute Andres Iniesta. Akinfeev became a national hero by saving the two spot kicks to send the hosts past the former world champions.

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was the hero as Croatia squeezed into the World Cup quarter-finals with a penalty shoot-out victory over Denmark here on Sunday.

Ivan Rakitic stroked home the decisive spotkick to ensure the Croats advanced to a last eight meeting with Russia after the two sides finished locked at 1-1 following extra-time.

The Barcelona midfielder’s winner came after Milan Badelj and Josip Pivaric saw their penalties saved by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who also saved an extra time penalty from Luka Modric.

But Danes Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen were thwarted by Subasic in the shootout to ensure Croatia won 3-2 and advanced to their first quarter-finals since the 1998 World Cup in France.

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