Moscow taken over by jubilant Russia fans after shock win against Spain


Traffic ground to a halt in central Moscow as hundreds of thousands of Russians celebrated their football team's shock World Cup win over Spain.

Fans took over the streets into the early hours in an unrestrained display of partiotic pride, jumping in fountains and climbing lampposts, shouting "Russya, Russya".

Cars blared their horns as people hung out of windows waving the national flag.

Earlier, in the fan zone they wept and leapt for joy following the 4-3 penalty shootout win.

Tens of thousands of fans in the capital's Fifa fan fest crowded around several huge screens as they witnessed what many would have believed unthinkable before the match.

A drab 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes extra time, seemed to pass slowly and a torrential downpour just before the penalty shootout risked dampening spirits.

But two saves from veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had the Russian crowd in raptures.

Huge men with painted faces held each other in bear hugs and cried tears of disbelief and joy, while others screamed the rallying cries of "Russya" and "Igor, Igor Akinfeev".

They wasted no time in getting the party started with a DJ playing dance music with thumping bass which shook the floor of the 40,000 capacity fan zone in Vorobyovy Gory, overlooking the Luzhniki Stadium where their heroes pulled off one of the biggest World Cup upsets in recent history.

The city had been gripped by World Cup fever since the beginning of the tournament, as fans from across the globe including thousands from Latin America, arrived.

Russia World Cup 2018
Russia World Cup 2018

But many Russians felt downbeat about their team's chances, including president Vladimir Putin, who said days before the tournament the nation expected the team to "play with dignity" and "fight until the end" following a poor run of results.

Sergei Grachev, 54, a Russian doctor who has lived in East Dulwich, south London, for 15 years, was inside the stadium for the match.

Dressed in an England shirt and with a Russian flag draped over his shoulders, he said: "It was amazing - I lost my voice.

"I think Russia was playing at home but Spain they were a little bit scared of the atmosphere.

"I was surprised, I thought Spain would be more interesting.

"I got the penalty save on video - it was just unbelievable, I still can't believe it.

"It's an achievement I don't think anyone expected."

One Russian in Red Square declared Akinfeev a "hero" and said: "Today is his day."

Moscow could be pretty lively tonight! Wow ?? what a result. #Russia2018#spainrussia

-- Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) July 1, 2018

He had already saved a meme of the goalkeeper in place of Jesus as his phone screen saver.

After the result, outspoken opposition leader Alexey Navalny tweeted: "Yesssssss! It is necessary to announce a series of rallies demanding to give the Akinfeev hero of Russia."

And former England star and BBC pundit Alan Shearer said: "Moscow could be pretty lively tonight! Wow what a result. #Russia2018 #spainrussia."

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