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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 18 as it happened - Croatia and Russia triumph in penalty shoot-outs

Stay up-to-date with all the news, reports and reaction from Russia as the second day of the last-16 matches gets under way

Ivan Rakitic scores Croatia's decisive penalty against Denmark. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Ivan Rakitic scores Croatia's decisive penalty against Denmark. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

1.20am - Monday matches

Well, if Saturday was goals galore, then Sunday was a day of penalties. A lot of them all in all. Russia and Croatia survived shoot-outs to book places in the quarter-final and a showdown with each other on Friday.

Monday should be just as tense. Brazil v Mexico at 6pm in Samara is followed at 10pm by Belgium v Japan at the Rostov Arena.

See you on Monday for more action.

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12.50am - Croatia win 3-2 on penalties to set up Russia showdown

Zlatko Dalic is beside himself. The former Al Ain manager has run up to the stands to be mobbed by Croatia fans after his side won 3-2 on penalties against Denmark after a 1-1 draw.

Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty for the Croats, but it was Danijel Subasic who was the hero with three saves in the shoot-out.

It is cruel on Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who saved two, and also saved Luka Modric's spot-kick in extra time to take it to penalties.

But it is Croatia who prevail and now face Russia on Friday in Sochi for a place in the semi-finals.

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12.35am - Penalties after Schmeichel denies Modric

The good news for Luka Modric is Croatia are still in this. But he has wasted a golden chance to put Croatia in the last eight.

The Real Madrid midfielder is given the ball when Croatia win a late penalty, but he hits it weakly to Kasper Schmeichel's left and the Danish goalkeeper smothers the shot.

It now goes to penalties. Will Modric take another one? Who is going to take on Russia? We will know soon.

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11.55pm - Extra time is here

Given what is at stake, a place in the quarter-finals, it is not hard to blame both Croatia and Denmark for becoming more nervy as the match wears on.

The second half has become a bit of a slog and it desperately needs a moment of inspiration, that is lacking, to find us a winner.

So it is another 30 minutes, and possibly penalties, to decide who meets Russia on Friday in Sochi.

A huge team talk for former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic. Can he rally his men to a place in the last eight?

11pm - All the action in the first five minutes between Croatia and Denmark

Lots of games at the World Cup have had tentative openings. This is not one of them.

Martin Jorgensen gave the Danes the lead after 61 seconds following a goalmouth scramble.

Mario Mandzukic levelled for Croatia three minutes later following another melee in the box.

Croatia have had the better of things since then, but it is still level and things will get more tense the longer it stays 1-1.

10pm - Opportunity knocks for Croatia and Denmark

There were reports of huge cheers from both Croatia and Denmark fans in when Russia eliminated Spain in the penalty shoot-out a couple of hours ago.

Both sides will be delighted that it is Russia, and not Spain, who are potential quarter-final opponents on Saturday in Sochi.

But, first they must get through this game. Croatia are favourites, given they won Group D with a 100 per cent record, but Zlatko Dalic's side will be wary of a Danish side who were unbeaten in Group C, even if only one of those games was a win.

The action has just got underway and this should be a tense affair.

Sports editor Graham Caygill predicted a Croatia win for this tie. Will he be proved right?

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8.42pm - Full time - Spain 1-1 Russia (AET) - Russia win 4-3 on penalties

Unbelievable scenes in Moscow as Spain crash out of the World Cup following a 4-3 defeat to Russia in a penalty shoot-out.

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was the hero for the hosts, denying first Koke and then Iago Aspas with his left foot.

The hosts move on to the quarter-finals - the first time they have reached the final eight since 1966 - where they will face the winners of Croatia v Denmark.

For Spain, who lest we forget sacked their manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, it is most likely to herald the end of a golden age with the likes of Andres Iniesta likely to have played his final match for La Roja.

INTERACTIVE: World Cup wall chart

7.53pm - Full time - Spain 1-1 Russia (AET)

We're going to penalties!

Who will hold their nerve? Stay tuned.

Spain's Gerard Pique handles the ball and concedes a penalty. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
Spain's Gerard Pique handles the ball and concedes a penalty. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

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7.53pm - Full time - Spain 1-1 Russia

We're heading to extra time folks.

A second half of few clear-cut chances and with several Russian players pulling up with cramps after a gruelling 90 minutes against the 2010 world champions.

Andres Iniesta, the hero of that 2010 success after scoring the only goal of the final against the Netherlands, is on.

Can the former Barcelona midfielder conjure up another moment of magic over the next 30 minutes to send Spain through to the quarter-finals?

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6.48pm - Half time

An own goal by Sergei Ignashevich had given Spain the lead at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Yuri Zhirkov was penalised for a crude challenge on Nacho and the resulting free kick from Marco Asensio looked to pick out Sergio Ramos at the back post but was bundled into his own next by the unfortunate Russian defender as the pair fell to the ground.

The hosts were then awarded arguably the most scandalous penalty of the tournament so far on 40 minutes.

Gerard Pique's arm got in the way of an Artem Dzyuba header from a Russia corner, but the Spaniard had his back to Dzyuba and was then shown a yellow car for protesting by referee Bjorn Kuipers.

VAR did not advise Kuipers to review the incident and with the pressure on Dzyuba sent David de Gea the wrong way with the resulting penalty, his third goal in his fourth match.

Spain players celebrate after taking the lead in their last-16 match against Russia. Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Spain players celebrate after taking the lead in their last-16 match against Russia. Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

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5.35pm - Koke comes in for Iniesta for Spain

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta drops to the bench for Sunday's last-16 clash against host nation Russia in Moscow with Koke replacing him as one of three changes for the 2010 champions.

Nacho returns for Dani Carvajal at right-back and Marco Asensio is selected ahead of Thiago Alcantara as Spain attempt to end a dreadful record against host nations at major tournaments.

They have never won in eight previous attempts, losing seven of those meetings while drawing once.

Denis Cheryshev, Russia's leading scorer in the competition with three goals, is left out by Stanislav Cherchesov, who makes four changes to the team beaten 3-0 by Uruguay.

Aleksandr Golovin returns to the side and is expected to take up a role behind towering striker Artem Dzyuba in a conservative 5-3-2 formation.

Starting line-ups for the World Cup last-16 tie between hosts Russia and Spain at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (6pm UAE kick off):

Russia (5-3-2)

Igor Akinfeev (capt); Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Fedor Kudriashov, Yury Zhirkov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuziaev, Alexander Samedov; Aleksandr Golovin, Artem Dzyuba

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov (RUS)

Spain (4-2-3-1)

David De Gea; Nacho, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos (capt), Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Koke; Isco, Marco Asensio, David Silva; Diego Costa

Coach: Fernando Hierro (ESP)

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)

Andres Iniesta, centre, and Spain take part in training at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ahead of the World Cup last-16 clash with Russia. Mladen Antonov / AFP
Andres Iniesta, centre, and Spain take part in training at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ahead of the World Cup last-16 clash with Russia. Mladen Antonov / AFP

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4.25pm: Mexico, Brazil's bogey team

Mexico have long been deemed the bogey team for Brazil. It’s not so much a long record of underdog victories as the fact the Mexicans have proved awkward on significant, showpiece occasions. There was the Olympic final in 2012; there was Fortaleza at the last World Cup. There’s more. Most of the current Brazil team are old enough to remember the shock losses in the Gold Cups of 1996 and 2003.

Mexico’s Rafa Marquez, the most evergreen footballer, at 39, still competing in this World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, very vividly.

Read Ian Hawkey's preview ahead of Monday's match to find out more.

Mexico midfielder Rafael Marquez, 39, competing in his fifth World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, over Brazil, in the 1999 Confederations Cup final. Yuri Cortez / AFP
Mexico midfielder Rafael Marquez, 39, competing in his fifth World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, over Brazil, in the 1999 Confederations Cup final. Yuri Cortez / AFP

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3.35pm: Sweden 'have proven to everyone what we are capable of'

Sweden have defied pre-tournament expectations by winning a Group F containing Germany, Mexico and South Korea.

Next up is Switzerland for a place in the quarter-finals, and striker Marcus Berg, who has lit up UAE football since his arrival last summer, believes Sweden "have proven to everyone what we are capable of".

Read John McAuley's preview of the Sweden v Switzerland game.

Marcus Berg, right, has been central to Sweden's march to the World Cup knockout stages. Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo
Marcus Berg, right, has been central to Sweden's march to the World Cup knockout stages. Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

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2.35pm: Destined to never win the World Cup

The opening set of last-16 matches on Saturday saw the world's two best players exit the World Cup as Lionel Messi's Argentina were eliminated by France before Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal were knocked out by Uruguay.

Richard Jolly offers his thoughts on the two great rivals - constant companions destined to never win the World Cup

Argentina's Lionel Messi, top, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. AP Photo
Argentina's Lionel Messi, top, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. AP Photo

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9.40am: Spain 'shouldn’t fear the unknown'

The first match on Sunday (kick-off 6pm UAE) will see 2010 champions Spain take on tournament hosts Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Spain progressed as Group B winners but have yet to full hit their stride. However, manager Fernando Hierro insisted his team are in fine shape.

The National's John McAuley, reporting from Russia, provides the preview for Spain v Russia

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9.25am: New kid on the block?

Kylian Mbappe scored twice and created the penalty in the 4-3 win for France against Argentina. Michael Dalder / Reuters
Kylian Mbappe scored twice and created the penalty in the 4-3 win for France against Argentina. Michael Dalder / Reuters

Kylian Mbappe's starring role for France in the 4-3 win over Argentina on Saturday felt like a coming out party for the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Of course, any football fan not living under a rock is aware of the 19-year-old forward who became the world's second-most expensive player following his move to PSG from Monaco.

But his two goals and all-round performance against Argentina - grabbing the spotlight and putting Lionel Messi in the shade - felt like something bigger, something akin to Ronaldo's breakthrough for Brazil at the 1998 World Cup.

Reflecting on Saturday's action, Jamie Prentis has put together the biggest talking points, with Mbappe deservedly front and centre.

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9am: Ronaldo and Messi both out

Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo both departed the 2018 World Cup on the same day. AP Photo
Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo both departed the 2018 World Cup on the same day. AP Photo

Good morning everyone and welcome to another day from the 2018 World Cup!

After the thrill of the group stages, there was more than one member of The National's sports desk concerned the knockout stages would turn in to a series of drab matches, with teams aiming to not lose matches, instead of pressing for wins.

Based on the first day, how wrong were they?

France and Argentina kicked off the last-16 round with a humdinger that saw Kylian Mbappe take centre-stage with two goals in a 4-3 win that actually flattered Argentina.

Richard Jolly provides his expert analysis on the game as Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams lie in tatters.

After Messi made his early exit, surely his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn't follow suit, would he?

But he would as Uruguay's feared strike duo Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez tormented Portugal in a 2-1 win to set up a quarter-final with France.

Football correspondent Ian Hawkey was at the Fisht Stadium to witness the match. Read his report and analysis here.