Igor Akinfeev's unbelievable kick save powers Russian Federation to upset over Spain


This Russian team, on the other hand, still have history to make and with big names falling by the wayside on an nearly daily basis, they must now be considered serious contenders for a return to the Luzhniki Stadium in the semi-final and perhaps even the final.

It was also the ninth time that Spain have failed to beat a host of a World Cup or European Championships. They had, however, out-passed the home side 845 to 224.

Possession football appears to be a relic, ready for a display case in football's version of the Hermitage museum.

The 32-year-old keeper saved Koke's and Iago Aspas' spot kicks after both teams had scored two apiece in what was Russia's first ever World Cup penalty shootout, to send his team to the last eight after a lackluster 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

"Everything is changing, " Spain coach Fernando Hierro said through a translator.

Russia's defence then held firm as Spain dominated possession before the heroics of Akinfeev triggered wild celebrations in the rain.

"It has never been this way that so many favourites lose and go out", Cherchesov said.

With 35 minutes on the clock Spain had made 300 passes to the 63 of Russian Federation but had not mustered a single effort on target and led only through Sergei Ignashevich's comical own goal.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov seems to be the only Russian not caught up in the euphoria of the country's biggest World Cup win in decades.

Spartak won the tie 3-1, with all the goals coming in the second leg in Madrid.

"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways, " he said.

"We hope tomorrow is going to be a great and Neymar is inspired as well as the other players". Pique wagged a finger at Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers, but the decision stood.

Dzyuba hit the spot-kick low and hard past David de Gea and immediately raced toward the corner flag to salute crowd. "We might have attacked more if we only played four at the back or with more forwards but I believe we were victorious because my players stuck to the plan".

Rodrigo almost won it five minutes later, when he beat his man with a dummy, sprinted into the box and fired a shot Akinfeev again did well to save.

Akinfeev saved Koke's penalty to give Russian Federation the advantage. Russian Federation had the third-greatest upset by differential since the FIFA rankings started in 1992, behind Nigeria's win over France in 1998 and South Africa's victory over France in 2010, both in the group stage.

Brazil forward Neymar came into the tournament lacking fitness following a foot injury and scored once during three group games.

Previous meetings: Russian Federation have failed to beat Spain in any of their six games, with the Spaniards winning four times and two matches ending in a draw. "Now we see that people are playing with a line of five that we thought had been forgotten".

It was a sad farewell to worldwide football for Spain great Andres Iniesta, who was in tears after the match.

A member of Russian club PFC CSKA Moscow since the age of 16 and the Russian national team since 18, Akinfeev boasts 100 worldwide caps to his name. Iniesta, 34, said this defeat was his finale.

"The important thing is to get back to successful ways, which isn't always an easy thing to do". To rise again, the Spanish will have to evolve.

The video shows 6ft 4in striker Dzyuba between the sticks at training, pulling off a mirror-image stop to the one team captain Akinfeev made against Spain to win the shootout.