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Reds in Russia: De Gea’s World Cup hopes end in penalties, but Pogba marches on

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Resistant Russians knock Spain out in penalty shootout to reach the quarter-finals. France beat Argentina in a classic.

Spain v Russia: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Spain 1-1 Russia (Russia wins penalty shootout 4-3)

David De Gea and Spain have their World Cup dreams crushed by a resistant Russian side who advance after winning 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

The Spanish side, stacked with sensational possessive talent, completed over 1,000 passes in the game, but were unable to make all the possession count. It appeared to be a routine fixture for Spain, especially after an own-goal from Sergey Ignashevich gave them the lead in the 11th minute.

However, it was an underwhelming Spanish performance offensively. Yes, they unleashed nine shots on Igor Akinfeev’s goal, but a whole host of them were speculative at best.

Russia leveled the game shortly before the half, Gerrard Pique blatantly handled the ball in the penalty box leaving little doubt for the referee and the VAR officials to award Russia a lifeline.

Artem Dzyuba stepped up and sent the Manchester United goalkeeper the wrong way to equalize for the Russians.

So the game would stay in a deadlock for the remainder of regular time and extra-time. David De Gea’s goal saw little to no action as Spain controlled the game in midfield.

A penalty shootout beckoned. After both teams converted their first two, Akinfeev saved Koke’s penalty. De Gea was unable to prevent Aleksandr Golovin’s powerful shot, although he will be disappointed as it appeared to squirm underneath him.

Veteran goalkeeper Akinfeev would prove the hero of the night. His outstretched left-foot miraculously stopped Iago Aspas’ shot and sent Russia through to the round of 16.

It has been a World Cup to forget for Manchester United’s number one. After making the mistake against Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain’s opening game, he has not mirrored his domestic form whatsoever. He holds a shockingly bad statistic of only making one save from the seven shots that were on frame. He becomes the goalkeeper that has made fewest saves from at least three games since 1966.

It has definitely been a World Cup to forget for the shot-stopper, who signed a new long-term deal with the Reds prior to his World Cup campaign. JS

France 4-3 Argentina

In earlier action over the weekend, Paul Pogba and France defeated Marcos Rojo and Argentina in their Round of 16 matchup on Saturday. Rojo was involved early on in the game, but for all the wrong reasons. With just 11 minutes gone, the Manchester United center half found himself struggling to keep up with an electric run from Kylian Mbappé. With the French phenom clean through on goal, Rojo’s attempted tackle was hopeless and led to penalty and a yellow card. One time United transfer target Antoine Griezmann buried the spot kick to give France the lead.

Rojo’s day didn’t get much better after that, and he and fellow Manchester-based center back Nicolas Otamendi were given a torrid time by France’s attack. Rojo, carrying a caution and getting run ragged by Mbappé, was taken off at half-time.

On the other side, Paul Pogba was highly influential for Les Bleus. United’s midfield star was at the heart of one French move after another, springing Mbappé with probing passes time and again. It was Pogba’s blocked shot at goal that found its way to Mbappé for the eventual winner, with Paul’s boys coming out on top 4-3 by the end of proceedings. BM