Spain crashed out of the World Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout defeat to host nation Russia.
After an own goal gave Spain the lead, the hosts equalised through a penalty from Artem Dzyuba after a handball from Gerard Pique, which took the game to extra time and eventually penalties.
Below is a look at the things we learned from this match, which provided yet another shock result in this year’s World Cup.
4. Football is Bloody Amazing
In the famous words of Sir Alex Ferguson: Football. Bloody hell.
Who would have imaged a World Cup quarter final lineup without the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Portugal or Spain.
This year’s World Cup continues to treat usssq and today was no different. Russia caused yet another upset that had us going crazy and rubbing our eyes.
With VAR drama, goals, cards and a penalty shootout – this game had pretty much everything.
3. Artem Dzyuba is Perfectly Suited to English Football
Artem Dzyuba offered Russia a unique dimension that not many teams have at this World Cup.
He holds the ball up fantastically well, using his limbs (it’s ugly but it works) to hold strikers off and bring his creative midfielders into play.
While he may get a lot of stick, Andy Carroll is one of the best at this and it’s led to goals for Liverpool, Newcastle and West Ham on many occasions. It’s something that works in the Premier League and is underused by a lot of teams.
2. It May Be Boring But Teams Are Defending Superbly at the World Cup
Okay, teams defending solidly with a low block for 90 minutes is not the most entertaining viewing, we get that.
But it is a real trend that has developed during this World Cup, and teams are executing it perfectly.
Iran did it in the group stages, and Russia have done the same. They have taken into consideration the team they are playing against and played to get a good result. Getting their shape perfect and simply not allowing Spain to break them down. Their hard work has paid off.
1. Spain Need Andres Iniesta
With Koke in the centre of midfield, Spain were lacking that key spark in the middle. Iniesta can unlock defences with one pass or one clever turn, and can turn a game on its head with one moment of magic. He initiates attacks from midfield better than anyone in the world.
It seemed a bizarre decision not to start the 34-year-old, and he came on to the pitch 65 minutes too late. Russia looked to frustrate Spain even more when he came in to the fray, and they did a good job, but if Iniesta played the full game then who knows what might have been.