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Following the elimination of Spain from the FIFA World Cup through a shock penalty shoot-out defeat against Russia, Andres Iniesta announced his retirement from the national team, bringing down curtains to a glorious career that spanned between 2001 and 2018.

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

Argentina fared little better having struggled through their first three matches and scraped into the knockouts and they were dispatched by France in the last 16, ending the tournament with a 64 percent possession average. "We're talking about a generation of extraordinary players and we haven't been performing at the level we expect in the World Cup".

Far from it: Iniesta described it as the saddest day of an global career that spanned 12 years and 131 caps.

Iniesta was surprisingly benched to start the game against Russian Federation, but came on in the second half with the score level at 1-1. The host started the tournament with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, with Aleksandr Golovin creating trouble with his free roving role, but Russia's biggest triumph came in its 5-4 win over Spain in the last-16.

"I am leaving with a nasty taste in the mouth".

"Sometimes, the end does not happen the way you dreamed it would, and is instead marked by the circumstances".

The last addition to the elite group of 12 nations who have contested World Cup finals was Spain when they won the title for the first time in 2010.

"In the shots that I rejected, the Spaniards shot right where I thought", he added.

"Of course, you want to play and you always expect the best", he said.

"Today there is pain, as we have been eliminated", he said.

"As the coach I'm the one responsible for what happened", Hierro said. They are without a coach and are soon set to be without numerous players that have been part of the furniture for so long.

And the Spain captain - set to play under Lopetegui at Madrid - hinted he was unhappy with the decision to fire the coach, who was unbeaten during his two-year stay.


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