World Cup coach debacle sees Spain go back to the 'dark ages'

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who saved two penalties to carry his team past Spain and into the World Cup last eight, has not been practicing spot kicks with his teammates, he said on Tuesday.

With players such as world-class midfielder Luca Modric and a string of top-level forwards including Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic, Croatia will challenge Russia's backline far more than Spain's lackluster Diego Costa did in the entire game.

After a 1-1 draw at the Luzhniki Stadium, De Gea's opposite number Igor Akinfeev was the hero for Russian Federation, saving penalties from Koke and Iago Aspas.

"We definitely have not trained in it (penalties)", he told reporters at their base on the outskirts of Moscow.

"Yesterday was a very sad day for Spanish football, for the expectations we had and what we all believed was the level of the team", Tebas said, according to AS.

"But the game was long and all the emotions were gone in those 120 minutes", he said.

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

"Let's all put it all aside, please, and concentrate on the next game", he said.

"To [those who] supported, suffered and criticised us with respect, thanks", he said via a Twitter post. "We will try and fight".

"It's a shame we couldn't go through".

World Cup winning former Spain global Cesc Fabregas has taken a sensational swipe at his countrymen after the 2010 champions were knocked out in Russian Federation.

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.

However, 32-year-old Ramos said he plans to keep adding to his tally of 156 senior global caps, and told reporters in the Luzhniki stadium mixed zone that he was positive about the younger players coming through the ranks. "Especially victory over Spain".

"That doesn't not worry me, I don't think it's something for right now", said Hierro when asked about his future in the role.

Spain followed suit as Rodrigo replaced Asensio, and the former went closest to ending the impasse, sprinting towards goal after a clever dummy only for Akinfeev to claw his shot away before the rebound from Koke was blocked.

It all looked good for Spain entering the tournament, with coach Julen Lopetegui leading the team on a 20-match unbeaten streak and turning La Roja into one of the main title favorites.

Igor Akinfeev assumed instant Yuri Gagarin status by saving two of Spain's spot kicks.

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