Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Life&Culture | By Jesus Walton

Iniesta calls time on Spain after World Cup exit

Iniesta calls time on Spain after World Cup exit

Discussing his global future in January, Pique said: "Yes, I will leave the national team after the World Cup.

We will party all night", said of the thousands of fans which gather on Zagreb's main square to watch the match.

The city had been gripped by World Cup fever since the beginning of the tournament, as fans arrived from across the globe including thousands from Latin America. In extra-time we did everything, again - kept the ball.

Goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev saved two spot kicks, as Russian Federation came out on top 4-3 in the penalty shootout.

It was a very hard and physical match.

Spain dominated the match in terms of possession and territorial domination but posed very little threat to the host nation.

The score remained 1-1 after extra time and Russian Federation went on to win 4-3 on penalties to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

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"We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened". They have lost eight of those games, including four at World Cups, the last to South Korea in 2002 - also on penalties.

Spain's dramatic defeat by Russian Federation on penalties in the World Cup round of 16 yesterday ensured that at least one of this year's finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all.

This was their first penalty shootout in World Cups, while for Spain this was their fourth.

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.

Home supporters with red-white-and-blue wigs and painted faces seemed prepared for an unhappy ending out of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, especially after Marco Asensio's free kick ricocheted off a calf of defender Sergei Ignashevich in the 12th minute and past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for an own goal.

"It's a reality that this is my last game with the national team, on a wonderful stage", Iniesta told reporters after the defeat. It was the first match of the tournament to go to penalty kicks.

"This is a great victory for us, for the whole country, the soul of the country", Mikhail Sitner, 34, from Moscow, said.

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