The 2018 World Cup matchday 17 saw Russia cause a major upset when they defeated one of the tournament favourites, Spain.
The two European teams locked horns at the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia's capital city, Moscow with a place in the quarter-finals at stake in the first game of the day..
Spain deservedly broke the deadlock when Sergei Ignashevich scored an own goal just 12 minutes into game to make it 1-0 to the Red Fury, who had dominated the opening stages of game.
However, the Golden Eagles grew in confidence as the game progressed and in the 40th minute, they equalized through Artem Dzyuba, who scored from the spot-kick to make it 1-1 after Russia were awarded a penalty.
Russia managed to key Spain at bay with the Golden Eagles captain and goalkeeper Igor Ankifeev making great saves in the second-half and extra-time to ensure the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate and a penalty shootout followed.
Ankifeev continued his heroics in the penalty shootout as he stopped two spot-kicks to hand Russia a 4-3 win over Spain on penalties. Russia advanced to the quarter-finals, while Spain were eliminated from the tournament.
The second game featured European sides Croatia and Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.
Denmark took a surprise early lead through Mathias Jorgensen, who made it 1-0 to the Danish Dynamite after the Croatia defence was exposed having failed to clear Jonas Knudsen's long throw in a minute into the game.
However, the Blazers of Croatia responded with a goal three minutes later when an unmarked Mario Mandzukic fired past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to make it 1-1 with the Danish Dynamite backline caught ball watching.
Schmeichel went on to deny Croatia captain Luka Modric from the spot-kick in extra-time after Ante Rebic was brought down inside the Denmark box by Mathias Jorgensen. The crucial penalty save ensured that the game ended in a 1-1 draw and extra-time followed.
Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic proved to be the hero as he saved three spot-kicks as the Blazers emerged 3-2 winners over Denmark on penalties. As a result, Croatia booked their place in the quarter-finals, while Denmark bowed out of the competition.
Croatia will take on Russia in a quarter--final encounter at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Saturday, July 7.
Matchday 17, Sunday 01 July – Results
Last 16, Match 1 – Spain 1-1 Russia (3-4 penalties) – Luzhiniki Stadium, Moscow
Last 16, Match 2 – Croatia 1-1 Denmark (3-2 penalties) – Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod