The World Cup's lowest-ranked team — 70th when the tournament began — now advances to the quarterfinals.
Russia 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 on Sunday.
Russia’s captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Iago Aspas, while all four Russian shooters scored before thousands of screaming home fans.
Akinfeev used his trailing left foot to kick the ball high away from the goal on Spain’s last attempt. The 32-year-old goalkeeper leapt up, punched the air with both hands and dove into a belly flop cross the rain-soaked turf as teammates raced to him from the halfway line.
The World Cup’s lowest-ranked team — 70th when the tournament began — now advances to a quarterfinal against Croatia or Denmark in Sochi on Saturday.
A Russian-hosted party many feared would see the home team’s hopes end within days now extends into a fourth weekend at the tournament.
“I just feel emptied out,” Akinfeev said. “Over the whole second half and extra time we were defending our goal and managed it, we were hoping for penalties because Spain are hard to beat. Spain can’t always be lucky.”
It gave Russia its greatest win in international soccer for 10 years, since Akinfeev was in goal for an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in a European Championship quarterfinal. That run was ended days later by a Spain team beginning its era of dominance.
Spain has now failed to win a knockout game at three major tournaments since it won the 2012 European championship, its third straight major title after the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
It was too passive a performance by the Spanish, who were ranked 10th and one of the pre-tournament favorites. Turmoil erupted two days before the opening game, when the federation fired the head coach.
“It’s painful, there’s nothing else we can say,” Spain captain Sergio Ramos said. “We left our soul in the pitch.”