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03 July 2018, 03:35 | Pamela Mathis
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He coolly converted Spain's first penalty attempt in the shootout before Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved shots from Koke and Iago Aspas.
Despite making an astounding 1,107 total passes, Spain could not break the 1-1 deadlock and their fate was sealed when Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev booted away Iago Aspas' spot kick to cap a 4-3 shoot-out win for the hosts.
"We can't start finger-pointing at anyone and laying any blame here", he said. "Winning isn't easy, it's a lot more complicated than it looks, but the national team will march on forwards because it has a lot of good players".
It was a shocking elimination for Spain, joining former champions Germany and Argentina.
It was Iniesta who scored the most important goal in Spain's history in South Africa, in extra-time to help them beat Netherlands in the 2010 final, but he could not intervene after coming on as a substitute against Russian Federation. France, South Korea, Germany and Brazil have also won shootouts since 1998. The Atletico Madrid midfielder lifted his shirt over his eyes in dismay.
"Today was my last game with the national team", said Iniesta, who started the last-16 clash on the bench and was not introduced until the 67th minute.
Spain broke the deadlock early in the first half courtesy of a Sergei Ignashevich own goal, but Artem Dzyuba levelled the scores before half-time from the penalty spot.
Even outside of penalties, de Gea looked nervous and unsettled. "We have big things to achieve ahead". "He reminds me of Ronaldo Nazario, when he gets going he seems unstoppable, and then can finish in front of the keeper".
King Felipe VI of Spain was at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
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