Sergio Lozano / PHOTO: Fifa.com

Russia had many more shots on goal, but Spain were much more effective against their quarter-final opponents. The Inter Movistar keeper, Juanjo, undoubtedly kept Spain in the game with a truly inspired performance.

The Spanish national team, with six Blaugrana players - Cristian, Fernandao, Aicardo, Lozano, Lin and Torras -, clinched a World Cup semi-final berth and will face Saad Assis’ Italy, who edged Portugal in overtime after trailing 3-0 at the break.

Spain battle back from a goal down

Russia jumped to a one-goal lead after only one minute of play thanks to a strike from the Brazilian-born Russian, Cirilo. However, Spain equalised three minutes later (1-1, min 4).

Before the break, Fernandao (min 13) and Lozano (min 18) scored Spain’s second and third goals, leaving Sergey Skorovich’s Russia on the ropes and in desperate need of finding a way around Spain's keeper, Juanjo.

Spain ceded the initiative to Russia in the second half. The Russians employed the five-man attacking formation - with Cirilo, Pula, Robinho, Prudnikov- forcing Spain to defend deep in its on half. Russia, however, couldn’t get past Juanjo, who had a truly inspired performance in the dying minutes of the game.

Spain will face Saad’s Italy in the World Cup semi-finals this Friday, November 16, at 13.00.

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