Iniesta retires from Spain after World Cup loss to Russian Federation

Russia players pose for a team group

Iniesta was later subbed on and also scored during the penalty shootout, but his fairy-tale finish to an illustrious Spain career wasn't to be. Crowds at home went especially insane after Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic nailed his penalty shot into the left corner off his right foot, securing his nation's place in the final eight.

Spain have now played the hosts of a World Cup on five occasions, and failed to win a single game.

Sergio Ramos was the first Spanish player to talk to the media following Spain's elimination from the World Cup.

Akinfeev saved Koke's penalty to give Russian Federation the advantage. "Whenever you are knocked out of a World Cup, it is very painful".

"Let us say this openly, they are better than us in many ways, " he said.

True enough, Gerard Pique was the latest to experience a brain fade when he inexplicably raised his left arm to block Artem Dzyuba's 38th-minute header from Alexander Samedov's corner.

The Russians never stopped running - not even 38-year-old Ignashevich and surely they exceeded their tournament average of 110km covered - and maybe Spain were banking on them to tire in the extra 30 minutes.

Spain has gone three straight major tournaments without a title.

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"Penalties are a lottery - and we lost today, but I am very proud of these players as captain".

"We could not do more - we gave everything".

Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez were the twin hearts of Spain's rise, offensive metronomes who elevated tiki-taka to supremacy at Barcelona and Spain. Iniesta, 34, said this defeat was his finale.

"The important thing is to get back to successful ways, which isn't always an easy thing to do".

But Putin's decision not to personally attend Russia's first World Cup knockout game in the post-Soviet era fed suspicions that the Kremlin believed the team would lose. He also noted that thanks to Chechresov the team has made the impossible making it to the playoffs.

Pique is 31 and Ramos 32, the last mainstays of Spain's era of greatness.

"We have our identity".

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