The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) predicted the historic penalty shootout save by the goalie of Russia’s national team Igor Akinfeev on the special bank notes it issued to celebrate the World Cup in Russia.
“Forecasting and prediction has always been our strong point,” the CBR said in a post on its Facebook page that included an image on the new RUB100 notes that it compared to the moment Akinfeev blocked a penalty shot by Spain on July 1 that clinched the epic game. Russia now advances to the quarterfinals where it will play Croatia, the first time it has got through the first round since Soviet times.
The banknotes, which were released in the run up to the competition, show a silhouette of a football player in mid-air swinging out with his foot in the hologram that is almost identical to what has already become the iconic picture of the moment Akinfeev stuck out his foot and blocked the Spain shot. The note also depicts a boy with a football in his hand and the legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin, who is diving to make a save. Akinfeev will almost certainly join Yashin in legend after he saved two out of the four shots the Spanish fired at the Russian goal to clinch a victory for Russia.
Russia has been gripped by a football frenzy. Amongst the storm of football-related images and videos that have been posted on social media, another iconic image must be the group of ballerinas gathered around the tiny TV on a mobile phone following a match in their offstage moments during a performance of Raymonda at the Bolshoi Theatre on the night of the game.
Ballerinas huddle around a tiny TV to watch the Russia vs Spain game backstage during a performance of Raymonda - Bruna Gaglianone
There are 20mn of the new notes in circulation and it seems that most of them were spent on beer that night as the capital exploded into a giant celebration. Police stood by as the main streets in the centre were taken over by jubilant Russians. The law banning drinking alcohol in public was de facto suspended for the evening as were, it seems, all laws related to unsafe driving and all parking infractions. Russia went into the tournament ranked bottom of the tables and has shocked everyone with a stunning display of spirit and determination, if not top technical football skills.
Akinfeev was voted man of the match. Russia is due to meet Croatia in Sochi on July 7. The previous games have already emptied the streets of Moscow, but for the quarter final play offs the entire country will be watching.