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Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has announced his retirement

02 July 2018

His place in Roja folklore was assured in 2010 upon hitting the winning goal in the World Cup final against Netherlands, while he also lifted European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.

A kick across the Danish defence was firmly hit away by Henrik Dalsgaard but straight into the face of team mate Andreas Christensen, creating a pinball effect that saw the ball fall for Mandzukic, who then expertly turned it into the net from close range.

"The main culprits in football are the players that are the ones on the field".

Spain became the first team since at least 1966 to make over 1,000 passes in a World Cup game, but created very few clear chances over the 120 minutes.

Spain made 1,137 passes and completed 1,029, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Croatia has never reached the World Cup final so just imagine what the party scene would be like if that happened.

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Just before the end of extra time, Spain asked for a penalty but after the referee consulted with VAR they rejected the Spanish appeals.

"Like all Spaniards, we had high hopes and dreams and we are sad that we couldn't do it for the millions of people who were following the game back home", Hierro told reporters.

It would be a stretch to say Russian Federation deserved their win, with 26 per cent possession and only six attempts at goal compared with Spain's 25, but they had a plan, stuck to it, and fought to the bitter end.

The hosts have staged a fine tournament, full of smiles, solyanka and samovars - and a bit of vodka, too.

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. Pique wagged a finger at Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers, but the decision stood.

And from that moment on it seems like Russian Federation would be happy to go to penalties.

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Spanish captain Sergio Ramos was in tears on the pitch after losing to Russian Federation in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Akinfeev stopped kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas, while Russia's marksmen scored all four penalties they took.

It is the biggest upset ever in the knockout stage and the third biggest upset overall in World Cup history. "But there is a new generation, we have high-level players".

"We could not do more - we gave everything. Now we see that people are playing with a line of five that we thought had been forgotten".

Tick-tock, the time may be up for tiki taka.

"The important thing is to get back to successful ways, which isn't always an easy thing to do". He also noted that thanks to Chechresov the team has made the impossible making it to the playoffs.

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"We have our identity".

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has announced his retirement