"They are better than us in many ways". Sadly, he had eyes only for Sergio Ramos, who he successfully wrestled to the floor only for the ball to cannon off his heel for a comical own goal.
Aleksandr Samedov and Aleksandr Golovin will provide support for lone strike Artem Dzyuba, though will likely tuck in when Spain have possession to create a congested midfield in order to cut passing lanes. Roman Zobnin forced a corner off Koke as well as the hosts started to play themselves into the game.
Gerard Pique gifted Russian Federation the equaliser by using his hands to stop a header inside their box in the 41st minute.
Belgium - one of the few top-tier teams to deliver on its hype in the group stage - plays Monday against Japan, which sneaked out of its group because it got fewer yellow cards than Senegal. "Being a good team and good players at a particular time is another".
At the end of 120 minutes the excitement around the Luzhniki Stadium may well have been as much for the forcible end to the stalemate as the swell of Russian fans' belief that advancement just might be possible. Another attacking player, Fyodor Smolov, was also brought on in place of the goalscorer Dzyuba.
There have been a number of own goals so far, Spain benefitting from the latest one as Ignashevich scored at the wrong end as far as Russian Federation were concerned.
"We are having a fantastic World Cup".More news: Some Democrats with eye on 2020: 'Abolish ICE'
Russian penalty kickers were flawless against Spain's struggling goalkeeper David De Gea.
Russian Federation made another change soon after the hour, taking off Samedov and bringing on Denis Cheryshev, and their third switch followed after 65 minutes, scorer Dzyuba off for Fyodor Smolov.
Asensio found some rare space on the edge of the box but Akinfeev was untroubled but a shot straight into his midriff.
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.
Coach Stanislav Cherchesov, still refusing to show any sign of the vast relief he must be feeling after steering the hosts out of the group phase against most Russians' expectations, would not discuss his emotions and put the result down to packing a five-man defensive line to smother Spain.
Instead, Spain seemed entirely incapable on increasing the pace as, minute by minute, home hopes grew from a long-shot dream, through a gradual realisation that their highly-ranked rivals were not actually that unsafe, to eventual delirious celebration.
But it wasn't enough as Koke and Iago Aspas were denied by Akinfeev from the spot. Ramos levelled the scores for Spain but Cheryshev restored Russia's advantage. And eventually, made it to the last-eight.