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Russia Hope For World Cup Miracle After Messi, Ronaldo Exit

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Igor Akinfeev

Russia are hoping for a World Cup miracle on Sunday as the host nation take on 2010 winners Spain for a place in the quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi exited the tournament.

The other last-16 match pits a talented Croatia team led by Luka Modric that had a perfect record in the group phase against Denmark, but they will have to go some to emulate the drama of Saturday’s first two last-16 matches.

France beat Messi’s Argentina 4-3 in a World Cup classic as 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe announced himself on the biggest stage with a superb two-goal performance and Les Bleus came from behind to send the 2014 finalists packing.

Mbappe became the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup match since a 17-year-old Pele in the 1958 final. The Brazilian legend tweeted to the Frenchman: “Congratulations, @KMbappe, 2 goals in a World Cup so young puts you in great company.”

Russia’s top scorer, midfielder Denis Cheryshev, attends a training session in Novogorsk, outside Moscow, on June 28, ahead of their Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Spainplay

Russia’s top scorer, midfielder Denis Cheryshev, attends a training session in Novogorsk, outside Moscow, on June 28, ahead of their Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Spain.

Messi though was unable to find the net, leaving Russia with a single goal, and at 31 the Barcelona great has probably seen any chance of winning the World Cup evaporate.

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