Iniesta retires after Spain loss

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea

Russian Federation shockingly eliminated Spain from the World Cup, surviving two hours of dominance by the 2010 champions in a 1-1 draw and then winning a penalty shootout 4-3 on Sunday. Yet it was La Roja going home after a tense penalty shoot-out, which they lost 3-4 after Iago Aspas and Koke missed their spot-kicks.

Spain had taken the lead when Marco Asensio's curling free-kick into the six-yard area hit the ankle of Sergei Ignashevich, who was marking Sergio Ramos, and flew into the net.

Sergio Ramos - 6 - A captain's performance during open play, the Real Madrid centre-back was the chief general at the back for Spain, as Russian Federation really failed to threaten other than their penalty kick during the 120 minutes.

Dzyuba, unable to contain his delight after keeping his nerve to plant an equalising penalty past David de Gea after Gerard Pique's handball, said he found stepping up to take the penalty intimidating but that the heavens had been on his side.

"Everything is changing, " Spain coach Fernando Hierro said through a translator.

As it turned out, Russian Federation held firm for 90 minutes, came up with an equalizer after conceding an early own-goal and forced extra-time, thanks to some body-on-the-line and mind-over-matter defending.

The most wide open World Cup for decades continues to spring surprises with Sunday's elimination of Spain being the latest headline grabber.

Spain captain Iniesta saw his final World Cup outing end in defeat as Russian Federation stunned them to make the quarter-finals of the competition.

It looked a sensible approach as, with Andres Iniesta surprisingly dropped to the bench, none of the Spaniards seemed willing or capable to inject that game-changing moment of acceleration or inspiration that has been their trademark for a decade.

"Thank God, we were lucky, that's it", Akinfeev said in his postmatch television interview.

Hosts must rebound quickly for last 16 clash, the 2010 champions who have slipped under the radar after a tumultuous start to the tournament. Artem Dzyuba stepped up and equalised from the spot, 1-1.

The extra defensive duties offered by the two newcomers allowed Spain to control the game with its midfield purring on to control 75 percent of possession, but the team had only three shots on target to show for its trouble (in the first half).

The second half was an even more exaggerated version of the first. "I think we should have countered faster".

FIFA approved the new rule in March for an additional substitute in extra time at the World Cup, but had earlier used it at youth tournaments and the 2016 Olympic football tournaments.

Iniesta, who struggled physically in recent years, converted Spain's first penalty in the shootout with what was his last ever shot at a World Cup.

When Ignashevich wrestled with Ramos for Marcos Asensio's cross on 11 minutes and deflected the ball in, Spain might have expected their opponents to abandon their conservative gameplan.

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