It's been another eventful day at the World Cup with hosts Russian Federation springing a major upset over Spain courtesy of an absorbing penalty shootout, while Croatia and Denmark have headed to extra time with their scores locked at 1-all.
It was a shocking elimination for Spain, joining former champions Germany and Argentina.
Putin called Russian Federation boss Stanislav Cherchesov before the hosts defeated the 2010 champions on penalties.
The extra defensive duties offered by the two newcomers allowed Spain to control the game with its midfield purring on to control 75 percent of possession, but the team had only three shots on target to show for its trouble (in the first half).
However, Koke' s penalty was saved by Akinfeev before Aleksandr Golovin fired the hosts ahead 3-2.
Spain came close to grabbing a victor five minutes from time as a low strike from Iniesta was pushed away by Akinfeev, with the follow up shot dribbling across the face of goal with nobody on hand to apply the finish touch.
Spanish captain Sergio Ramos was in tears on the pitch after losing to Russian Federation in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
He will forever be remembered for the most important goal in Spain's history to win the World Cup eight years ago, but Andres Iniesta's worldwide career ended in sad fashion among delirium for the hosts in Moscow.
"This is a great victory for us, for the whole country, the soul of the country", Mikhail Sitner, 34, from Moscow, said.
Iniesta said he had no complaints about being left on the bench by coach Fernando Hierro, before being brought on during the second half. Lopetegui was sacked because he didn't tell Spain's soccer leaders he accepted an offer to coach Real Madrid after the tournament.
Previous defeats by Spain, and the fact his side had played with 10 for much of their last game against Uruguay, convinced boss Cherchesov to pick a 5-3-1-1 formation in the hope that discretion really is the better part of valour.
Just hours after the hosts had sealed their place in the last eight on spot-kicks, Croatia followed suit in Nizhny Novgorod as the last-16 round continued to thrill, Rakitic holding his nerve after Nicolai Jorgensen saw his effort saved.
"We are going to look for the best for the national team and for the federation", Rubiales said.
The 38-year-old defender diverted a crossed ball into the net with his heel as he and Ramos got tangled up.
Artem Dzyuba - 7 - Imperious in the air, the mountainous forward caused a number of problems for the Spain back-line, and ultimately played the key role in winning Russian Federation a first-half penalty and converting it.
But this time, they just passed side-to-side, sometimes backwards, nearly never to attack.
"We're insanely happy", Dzyuba said.
"We gave everyone a festival and believed in our success until the end".
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.