Team Russia's video address to the fans was posted on the national squad's page in the VKontakte social network on Saturday.
Millions of Russian fans, many of whom were mocking this team just a couple of weeks ago, are jumping loudly on the bandwagon. "We feel like all Spaniards this evening", he said. "I think our fans and foreign fans have recognized that we're a country that can play football and organize big events". After Denis Cheryshev converted his spot kick, Akinfeev stopped Iago Aspas's effort with his legs to spark mass celebrations in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The home crowd greeted the arrival of extra time as if they had won the World Cup but Spain, seeing several of their rivals dropping to the floor with cramp and exhaustion, were no doubt confident that the hosts would eventually crack if they just kept rolling the ball from side to side.
That move - and Russia's tedious negativity - helped Spain establish firm control over the flow and tempo of the game, with Koke's tactical awareness and excellent pressing playing a big role in winning back the ball quickly and keeping the action nearly entirely inside Russia's half. France, South Korea, Germany and Brazil have also won shootouts since 1998. The Atletico Madrid midfielder lifted his shirt over his eyes in dismay. 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.
"I had to persuade them this was the only way as they don't like this system", said Cherchesov, whose side had one shot on target in two hours of football. That run was ended days later by a Spain team beginning their era of dominance.
It was also the ninth time that Spain have failed to beat a host of a World Cup or European Championships.
It was too passive a performance by the Spanish, who were ranked 10th and one of the pre-tournament favourites.
"We did everything possible", said Spain captain Sergio Ramos, who scored his penalty. "We left our soul in the pitch". Lopetegui was sacked because he didn't tell Spain's soccer leaders he accepted an offer to coach Real Madrid after the tournament.
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Defeat Sunday likely spells the end of Andres Iniesta's career.
Russian Federation is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.
By the end of extra-time Fifa's in-game analysis had shown that Spain's players successfully passed to each other 1,029 times - a World Cup record for completed passes in a game. Its maximum effort and early success at the World Cup quickly got its countrymen on board, easing fears that the tournament might be ignored by the host country. The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel as he and Ramos got tangled up.
Gerard Pique handled Artem Dzyuba's header and the Zenit St Petersburg forward sent David de Gea the wrong way for his third goal of the tournament.
"We're insanely happy", Dzyuba said. "We believed that order, discipline and dedication can beat class".
Five minutes after that, Spain's players were baying for VAR after more grappling in the box.
With Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watching from the stands, Russia's qualification triggered a wave of enthusiasm for the host nation as thousands celebrated in the capital's iconic Red Square and beyond.