Spain have been dumped out of the World Cup after losing to the hosts Russia on penalties. Russia equalised in the 41st minute through a Dzyuba penalty after Gerard Pique’s arm, which he raised above his head in a bid to ask the referee a question about handball rules in football, was struck by the ball.
What followed enraged the head of Russia’s expert doping team as it became clear that with Spain aimlessly passing sideways for the next 80 minutes, there was no real need to inject the Russia team with performance enhancing substances.
The Spanish FA have said the surprise defeat will force them to reevaluate their tactics, investing in research to see if passing the ball forwards instead of sideways can lead to goals.
The first of two penalty shoot outs yesterday saw goalkeepers emerge as the heroes with Russia’s Igor Akinfeev making the decisive save from Iago Aspas’ penalty.
In the aftermath of the save Akinfeev admitted his karate kick save was down to watching the Karate Kid 7,248 times as a child finally paying off, with the Russian FA stating watching the illegally doping scenes in Rocky IV also inspired them.
Akinfeev’s dive to his right saw him save the penalty by kicking the ball which was making its way down the middle of net, sparking wild celebrations all over Russia and giving football fans everywhere the sinking feeling that comes with knowing they’re going to win this bloddy thing, aren’t they?
Spain’s hypnotic back and forth passing left many people watching the game in a trance like state, but left others like your Dad, cursing at the TV demanding football stop being so boring and monotonous.
The second game of the day between Croatia and Denmark thundered into life with 2 goals in the opening 4 minutes. Denmark’s opener came courtesy of Zanka and a long throw in, which under FIFA rules, is still illegal to defend against without panicking and flailing around the place.
Croatia’s equaliser came from Mario Manzukic and was a lovingly recreated homage to a pinball machine on speed.
The game then fell into a less frantic pace and only sparked into life once more in the dying minutes of extra time – after Danish defender Zanka hauled down Rebic in the box a penalty was given.
Denmark’s keeper Casper Schmeichel saved Luka Modric’s penalty after taking inspiration from Russia’s annexation of Crimea by encroaching over a line he is not allowed cross and stepping into territory that wasn’t his.
The problem of keepers jumping forward off their lines during penalties has seen a number of proposals made by FIFA to combat the issue such as gluing keepers to the goal line, threatening their loved ones at gunpoint in the box, and referees actually following the rules and booking keepers and forcing a retake.
Rakitic scored the winning penalty for Croatia after heroics from his teammate Subasic in goal however, huge credit must go to Croatia’s captain and talisman Modric.
Having missed a penalty earlier, Modric stepped up again and scored, with scientists estimating he has balls in excess of the size of a small African republic.
Today’s games see Brazil take on Mexico and Belgium and Japan. A prize will be given to a fan whose blood pressure skyrockets the most while watching Neymar dive on the pitch and writhe around in faux agony.
Elsewhere, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was pictured sitting next to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, probably discussing how all profits from FIFA’s operations should go into the pockets of football impoverished countries as his pockets simply no longer have the room.