Russia goalkeeper says he knew what to expect from Spain’s penalty shots

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Moscow, July 3 (IANS) Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said on Tuesday that he had been prepared for how Spain players would shoot their penalties in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which proved decisive when their last-16 clash ended in a 1-1 tie, triggering a penalty shootout that Russia won 4-3.

Akinfeev saved two spot kicks from Spain’s Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion Merodio and Iago Aspas during Saturday’s match, sending Russia to the quarterfinals, where they are to face Croatia on July 7, reports Efe.

“I did not train on penalties, as we were planning to win in regulation time, although I knew how each Spanish player would shoot,” Akinfeev said.

“In the shots that I rejected, the Spaniards shot right where I thought,” he added.

“I was lucky and that’s it, this is a success for the whole Russian team, we should not highlight anyone. The national team has given everyone a party, but that’s history, we want something more,” he said.

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As for the quarterfinals clash against Croatia, he declined to comment, saying he had not watched his next opponents play.

“I’m just following our national team. Of course, I’ve watched some matches during the World Cup, but not the Croatians,” the keeper added.

–IANS

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