Spain's Andres Iniesta retires from worldwide football following World Cup exit

04 July 2018, 12:41 | Kristine Mills

AFP Getty Images

AFP  Getty Images

Iniesta admitted that "It's time to step aside", but that "It hasn't been an easy decision", having taken "many months" to mull the decision over.

"This was my last game for Spain", Iniesta told reporters.

Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament. "It fell to him in a delicate moment, and we should be thankful that he had the courage to take it on". "The manager always thinks the best for the team and he's got to make the decisions even though one agrees with them or not". "The coach understood that it was better that way".

Zagreb, Jul 1 Thousands of Croatians celebrated their team's dramatic win against Denmark on penalties to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

"We have a team to keep dreaming", the 32-year-old said on Spain's Telecinco channel.

"There are players around, they just have to find a path to success", he said. We will be back at big tournaments again.

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"We have our identity which is because of the type of players we have", he said when asked about the playing style.

Iniesta surprisingly started as a substitute for the last-16 tie in Moscow, but despite coming on in the second half, the former Barcelona midfielder was unable to inspire his country to victory, with La Roja going down 4-3 on penalties. "On a personal level, it's the end of a wonderful phase". It's harder that it might appear.

De Gea also made a bad error in a pre-World Cup friendly against Switzerland, and the goalkeeper will want to quickly restore his reputation with United when the 2018-19 campaign begins.

"We're the toughest judges of ourselves and we'll see what things can be improved". It was not to be. A penalty was the only way they could cause us danger. Tonight, we were that team at the right place at the right time. "I really had to persuade my players that this was the only way out".

Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev dives in sheer delight after rejecting the last penalty shot of Spain's Iago Aspas during their Round of 16 match. "I'm convinced that 99 per cent would say that Spain have been much better [than Russia]". "VAR is there to help, and the referee did not whistle it".



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