In the shootouts, it was Akinfeev who emerged as the hero, first diving right to keep Koke's effort out, before denying Aspas with his feet, as the World Cup witnessed yet another fairytale and Russian Federation 2018 lost one more of the so-called pure-bred teams.
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Russian Federation shockingly eliminated Spain from the World Cup, surviving two hours of dominance by the 2010 champions in a 1-1 draw, and then winning a penalty shootout 4-3.
And then, in the penalty kick shootout, he denied Koke and Iago Aspas to win the match.
Rewarded with a sponsor's trophy, Akinfeev acknowledged the part played by an 78,000 crowd in Moscow: "I'm not the man of the match, the man of the match is our team - and our fans".
The 2010 World Cup winners have left Andres Iniesta out of their starting line-up. Home supporters with red-white-and-blue wigs and painted faces seemed prepared for an unhappy ending out of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, especially after Marco Asensio's free kick ricocheted off a calf of defender Sergei Ignashevich in the 12th minute and past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for an own goal.
"We are having a fantastic World Cup", said Akinfeev. They have lost eight of those games, including four at World Cups, the last to South Korea in 2002 - also on penalties.
The hosts remained resilient throughout and despite Spain dominating the ball they offered very little penetration.
The 2010 champions managed only nine shots on target - and precious few of those carried any venom.
Spanish captain Sergio Ramos is comforted after their World Cup exit.
Russian Federation also were toothless up front until Gerard Pique's handball gave them a chance to level with a penalty in the 41st minute.
Russian Federation were streetwise in the second half as Stanislav Cherchesov's men held firm to take the match to the first extra-time of this year's World Cup.
Spain's Sergio Ramos blows a kiss as he celebrates after Spain score the opening goal of the game, after Russia's Sergei Ignashevich scored an own goal during the round of 16 match between Spain and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2018. Ultimately, they decided not to go to an official review despite grappling clearly taking place.
"We have a team to keep dreaming", he said.
Spain picked up where they let off after the restart with Jordi Alba getting on the end of a cross from the right, but the full-back's effort was tame and straight at Akinfeev.