Russian Federation continued to sit deep and hit Spain on the counter-attack once in a while, which eventually paid off when they equalised five minutes before half-time with the only shot on target they managed in 120 minutes of open play.
In the latest episode of Project Russia, ESPN's Charlie Gibson rides through the wave of emotions with Russia fans during their stunning triumph over Spain. "These are very simple, not very sophisticated emotions", he added.
"I think we should have countered faster".
He was pretty much the only one.
Watch the full penalty shootout.
In fairness, La Roja did have a strong claim for a penalty turned down in the closing minutes of normal time when both Ramos and Pique were manhandled by their markers but, following a brief VAR review, no-nonsense referee Bjorn Kuipers signalled for play to carry on.
Where does Iniesta rank among Spain's all-time best players?
And then his players went out and did just that.
"We're hosting a fantastic tournament", Akinfeev said.
Spain dominated possession in the opening exchanges and got their reward in the 12th minute.
'I'm going to have to go to Qatar with a grey beard if necessary'. "Had we chosen different tactics, we would not have fared as well".
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Belgium started the better, Jordan Pickford looking nervous early on as he just about beat away a dipping Youri Tielemans effort. When Belgium and England play in the last 16 their lineups will bear little resemblance to those fielded on Thursday.
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He had a warning for Russia's next more fancied opponents - either Croatia or Denmark: "Being a good team and good players is one thing", he said. They have to blame themselves for the lack of intent.
Spain finished the half with a burst of activity, registering a couple of efforts, but the next 40 minutes were turgid, a state of affairs not helped by the 25-degree temperature. "We were prepared for this".
"We hope this isn't the last World Cup for this generation".
Cherchesov also knew this approach would take some work.
Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov said it was a "life and death match".
Iniesta stepped up first and scored, Smolov replied but David De Gea got a fingertip to it. Pique scored his and Ignashevich, who was superb after his own goal, coolly replied. Sadly, he had eyes only for Sergio Ramos, who he successfully wrestled to the floor only for the ball to cannon off his heel for a comical own goal.
Of course, without Akinfeev, the plan would have failed.
Spain have been getting the rub of the green in a number of important encounters.
With the game tied at 1 and only five minutes remaining, Akinfeev dived low to his right to palm away a shot from Andres Iniesta that seemed destined for the corner.
It may have been a dry 120 minutes but there was high drama in the shootout for the 78,000 spectators at Luzhniki Stadium, with all four Russian penalty-takers keeping their cool and Muscovite Akinfeev doing well to deny Koke's effort.