MOSCOW — We have a saying in Russia, Stanislav Cherchesov told reporters from behind his fearsome mustache on Saturday afternoon. "Anyone," said Cherchesov, the coach of Russia's World Cup team, "can be a god if he tries." The statement — made a day before Russia would play Spain in the World Cup's round of 16 — was both pushback and premonition. Cherchesov knew what everyone was thinking: that his Russia team, the lowest-ranked in the field, had surpassed expectations as the host of the World Cup but would surely reach the end of the line when it took on Spain, a former world and European champion. [Up Next: Follow our live coverage of Brazil vs. Mexico ] But Cherchesov seemed to know better. He thought his team had more to give. And he was right. In a stunning upset, Russia eliminated Spain on penalty kicks, 4-3, after a 1-1 tie on Sunday that extended through 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time. The long day finally ended when the Russian goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, kicked away Iago Aspas's fifth penalty attempt for Spain. The Russians had been dominated throughout the game, but a penalty kick by Artem Dzyuba… Read full this story
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