Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov claimed he had to "persuade" his players to switch to the five-man defence that frustrated Spain and helped the hosts reach the last eight of the World Cup.
Russia's World Cup topscorer Denis Cheryshev says the hosts can hurt 2010 winners Spain in the World Cup last 16 on Sunday despite the huge disparity in talent between the two teams.
Akinfeev dived to save a Rodrigo shot in the one added minute at the end of extra time to huge cheers from the crowd as the game went to penalties.
With their talents - even with Andres Iniesta and Thiago Alcantara benched - it was up to the visitors to take the initiative. It was all pass.pass.pass with no real objective, especially after they got the first goal through Ignashevich's own goal in the 12th minute.
But Fernando Hierro's side struggled going forward, passing the ball sideways without penetrating Russia's defensive lines with any regularity. "We've made it far too easy for opponents to score against us, which they've done more because of our errors than their brilliance".
Gareth Southgate was heavily criticised in some quarters for fielding a weakened side in the final group game against Belgium, as England lost 1-0 and ended up second in the group.
Spain's Iago Aspas shot down the middle, and Akinfeev had jumped to his right. For Sergei Ignashevich, one of three holdovers from the Russian Federation side that lost to Spain in the semi-finals of Euro 2008, there are no secrets about their upcoming opponents. Instead, Russia carried on defending the last third with barely an idea as to what to do with the ball when they did have it. As with the last four times that hosts were involved, the home nation prevailed. "We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened, thank God", the keeper said.
But for all the talk of tactics and generational change, Spain's 2018 World Cup will be remembered for a simple act of self-sabotage.
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"Not just our fans, but the fans of other countries got a sense of this atmosphere and understood that Russians really know how to play football and want to play football".
As rain came down, each team made its first two kicks in the shootout, but Akinfeev dived right and with a two-handed punch stopped Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion.
Russian Federation rallied, though, through Artem Dzyuba, who converted from the penalty spot after a Gerard Pique handball.
The host's only way to the game was set pieces and the Spanish goalkeeper, David De Gea, was soon beaten when Dzyuba converted a penalty in the 42nd minute after Gerard Pique used his dangling arm to block the goal-scorer's header from an Alexander Samedov corner.
Instead of waking from their slumber, La Roja continued tempting fate by reducing the game to a turgid affair of insomnia-inducing passes with no penetration.
Now they must find a way past title contenders Spain to prolong their run after reaching the knockout phase for the first time in the post-Soviet era.
Tick-tock, the time may be up for tiki taka.
From then on, both teams could not get the ball into the net and the game was to be decided by penalty kicks.