However, La Roja quickly grabbed the lead in the 12th minute through an own goal by Sergei Ignashevich after the defender got the last touch following a set-piece by Marco Asensio.
Russia's Artem Dzyuba celebrates scoring on a penalty against Spain in the round of 16 World Cup match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. Akinfeev had to deny both Pique and Rodrigo late on, but his real heroics came in the shootout as he saved spotkicks from Koke and Iago Aspas to send Russian Federation into the quarter finals.
After playing a 1-1 draw right from the first half, Russian Federation and Spain went all the way through extra time and there was nothing to separate the duo except penalty kicks.
Spain, who parted ways with coach Julen Lopetegui just days before the tournament, joined England and Italy as the only teams to lose three shootouts at the World Cup, having been knocked out by hosts South Korea in 2002 and Belgium in 1986, both in the quarterfinals.
Everyone inside the Luzhniki Stadium, and all those watching at home, held their breath as the referee and the VAR team checked footage for holding on Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos late on in extra time.
Yuri Zhirkov gave away a free kick when he fouled Nacho on the right and, when Aesnsio curled the cross in, Ignashevish tangled with Sergio Ramos at the far post and the ball flew in off the defender.
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Akinfeev, who started his professional career by saving a spot kick in his first ever match, then kicked Aspas' penalty high and wide to trigger wild celebrations. His shot from a tight angle forces Akinfeev into a save!
Their match against Spain didn't exactly get off to a dream start.
The hosts kept Spain at bay as the clash neared the end of normal time but substitute Andres Iniesta came close to scoring with a speculative shot from close-range. Subs - Granat 5, Smolov 6, Cheryshev 6, Erokhin 5.
Despite the added time of two minutes, both times retreated for the 15-minute break with the scoreboard flashing 1-1.
Having long run out of steam and with several players cramping, Russian Federation were reduced to desperately defending in extra time as Spain, who played more than four times the number of passes their opponents did, still struggled to create clear chances. He saved Koke's effort to hand Russian Federation the advantage and then, denied Iago Aspas to awaken the subdued 78,000 crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. "Yes, he always made little mistakes, but I think he still has time to write his name into history", former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said about Igor Akinfeev when asked about Akinfeev's chances in the FIFA World Cup 2018.