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Spain progress amid Russian relief

Holders Spain are through to Thursday's semi-finals and Russia are well positioned to join them after a dramatic last-second win against Paraguay on Sunday but Italy were beaten and Ukraine eliminated.

Vladislav Shayakhmetov was Russia's last-gasp hero
Vladislav Shayakhmetov was Russia's last-gasp hero ©Getty Images

Holders progress
Spain beat Russia 5-2 on Saturday in Brasilia and were taking on an Argentina side held 3-3 by Paraguay, meaning they knew a win would take them into the last four from Group F. Fernandão put Spain ahead on 15 minutes and although Hernán Garcías equalised two seconds before the break, Ortiz struck not long after the interval to secure a 2-1 victory.

Dramatic win
Russia were then involved in a pulsating game. Pula and Vladislav Shayakhmetov made it 2-0 late in the first half but just before the interval Konstantin Maevski was sent off for conceding a penalty converted by José Rotella and Fábio Alcaraz levelled early in the second period. By then Cirilo had been forced off injured and Alcaraz scored again only for Pula to instantly equalise with a penalty. Pula then completed his hat-trick with his tournament-leading 15th goal for the finals and although Alcaraz responded in kind just 109 seconds from the end, Shayakhmetov secured a 5-4 win just before time expired. A win against Argentina on Tuesday would take Russia into their first World Cup semi-final since 1996 and a draw would be enough if Spain do not lose to Paraguay.

Brazil beat Italy
Things did not go Europe's way in Group E in Rio de Janeiro. Italy, having beaten Ukraine 4-0 on Saturday, lost 3-0 to Brazil, with Interviú Madrid player Schumacher scoring to add to his goal that beat Iran. The Asian champions are now behind Tuesday opponents Italy only on goal difference after a 5-4 win against Ukraine that ensured Brazil's progress.

Ukraine out
Il'Dar Makayev and Serhiy Cheporniuk gave Ukraine a 2-0 lead early on but the match turned with two Vahid Shamsaee strikes either side of a Fedir Pylypiv own goal. Mohammad Taheri made it 4-2 on 15 minutes and although Oleksandr Khursov swiftly pulled one back, Taheri converted a double penalty just before the break. Makayev's goal with three minutes left could not save Ukraine from a 5-4 defeat and elimination but does mean that Italy need only draw with Iran rather than win.