Spain stars return home after shock exit from 2018 FIFA World Cup

04 July, 2018, 17:32 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Shock as Iniesta left out with Asensio given the nod

"We have many great players for now and for the future", Hierro said.

At 34, and already the match-winner in the final eight years ago, the former Barcelona midfielder announced his global retirement immediately afterwards.

"I'm not an opportunist", said Hierro, who was part of Lopetegui's coaching staff, adding, "the situation was what it was, there is no sense in looking back".

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales insists he has no regrets over the decision to sack coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup despite La Roja's failure to progress beyond the last 16 in Russia.

"It's my last match with the national team", said Iniesta, who left the Luzhniki Stadium pitch in tears. "It is the saddest day of my career".

David de Gea's terrible World Cup ended on Sunday as Spain were dumped out of the tournament by hosts Russian Federation, who won a penalty shoot-out 4-3 in Moscow.

The hosts toppled Spain 4-3 in a penalty shoot out after the two teams were impossible to separate at 1-1 after 120 minutes of dour round of 16 action.

In that time, he helped seal success at the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, and scored the goal to clinch the 2010 World Cup, although Spain's past three major tournaments have ended before the quarter-final stage.

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The odds on England winning the World Cup for a second time were cut after Russia's victory, making them third favourites behind France and Brazil.

In football, managers play a far clinical role than most other sports, and hence, arrival or departure of one can change the complete dynamics of the team moving forward.

"I will be honest, I am leaving resting easy".

"We have our identity which is because of the type of players we have", he said.

Ramos said: 'It was an huge, exciting challenge that we faced with all the energy of the world.

"As the coach I'm the one responsible for what happened", Hierro said.

"I'm convinced that 99 per cent would say that Spain have been much better (than Russia). They are better than us in many ways so I don't believe we should risk going forward, and I think we chose the correct tactic".

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