Igor Akinfeev's incredible kick save helps Russian Federation upset Spain

Getty Images

Getty Images

Well, Spain can enjoy its siesta now.

"It's reality that today has been my last match for the national team", he told reporters.

Following its 4-3 loss to Russian Federation in a shootout that knocked it out of the World Cup in the round of 16, Spain came under vicious attack back home.

Russia's win over the 2010 world champions has boosted the confidence of what was the lowest-ranked team going into the tournament, and has whetted the hosts' appetite for more success. 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.

The host nation is headed to the quarterfinals after eliminating Spain in a nerve-wracking round of penalties that ended 5-3.

Hierro never expected to be leading Spain into the knockout stages of this World Cup - at least not until his predecessor Julen Lopetegui was sacked as coach two days before the tournament began.

La Roja had dominated soccer before that, winning two consecutive Euros and the 2010 World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic's team scored at least two goals in each of their three group matches, including firing three past hapless Argentina, to stake a claim as one of the dark horses in this tournament.

Iniesta said he had no complaints about being left on the bench by coach Fernando Hierro, before being brought on during the second half. "The players did their best, as always". If he does make a change, will he go with the experience of a veteran or someone with fresh ideas?

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At 34, Iniesta has won everything there is to win for club and country.

"We're not going to lose any sleep over all these variables", Hierro said.

Among the candidates rumored for the position was former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.

Sunday's defeat likely spells the end of Andres Iniesta's national-team career.

The idea that Spain, boasting a squad bursting with winners at club and global level, could be sent home by the lowest-ranked team in the tournament would have sounded preposterous just a month ago, but as the minutes ticked by at the Luzhniki stadium it seemed ever more likely.

"We are proud of the coach", he said. He also made a bad mistake in the opener against Portugal, letting a weak shot from Cristiano Ronaldo go underneath him for a goal.

Croatia's case as dark horses to win the World Cup is mostly down to the creativity of their two midfield masters, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

The dominance of Spain is evident with the fact that they enjoyed 75% possession to Russia's 25%.

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