Russia 1-1 Spain: 5 things we learned

Spain faltered to an early exit against a very hard working Russia side on penalties.

realsport user by admin

Reuters/CARL RECINE

It was a strange afternoon in Moscow. 

Taking an early lead as the bulldozing Sergio Ramos distracted veteran defender Sergei Ignashevich enough for him to score an unfortunate own goal, Spain took the driving seat and looked certain to progress. 

But they coasted along, satisfied to keep the ball and protect their lead, rather than double it. On the balance of play, it resembled a team 3-0 up in the 80th minute. 

Russia didn’t look dangerous but were always in the tie with a goal between them, and Spain were made to pay after Gerard Pique stupidly handled the ball in plain view of the referee. 

Spain paid a heavy price for their conservatism and were utterly abject at creating chances. The introductions of Andres Iniesta and Rodrigo improved things, but they remained static, unable to force a breakthrough.

Russia were compact and organised while they showed unbelievable stamina to compete to the end. Scoring all their penalties in the shootout, they are worthy of their place in the quarter-finals.

Here are five things we learned:

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