Russia are currently the lowest-ranked team remaining in the World Cup, while Spain are No. 10. As such, Spain would be projected to roll in a match featuring the two squads.
But that’s why they play the games.
Russia played a tactical game in Sunday’s Round of 16 match, converting a penalty to take a 1-1 draw into extra time. Spain nearly found the game-winner, but could not, and the match went to penalties.
And that’s when Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev came up huge.
Akinfeev was facing Iago Aspas, on the final kick, and that’s when he came up huge. The Russian goalie dived, but Aspas shot down the middle.
No problem — Akinfeev denied him with his foot, pushing the ball away, out of danger.
And Russia emerged victorious — advancing to the quarterfinal in front of the home fans via a shocking upset.