Iniesta after Spain farewell: 'That's life'

Shock as Iniesta left out with Asensio given the nod

Heading into this year's World Cup many pundits were tipping them to repeat their heroics once again.

Spain joined Argentina, Portugal and Germany among the big guns to have been eliminated from this World Cup, but Iniesta said he believed the future for the Spain team was bright.

The match finished 1-1 after extra-time, Artem Dzyuba's 41st-minute penalty cancelling out Sergei Ignashevich's early own goal, and it was Russian Federation who emerged winners when goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas.

A roaring Luzhniki Stadium crowd, dogged defending and a dose of Russian luck saw the World Cup hosts to a penalty shootout victory over Spain on Sunday, though for some it also took divine intervention.

La Roja had dominated soccer before that, winning two consecutive Euros and the 2010 World Cup.

The Croats look like serious contenders, while for Spain their elimination is a disaster-they had been considered among the favorites but had their preparations ruined when coach Julen Lopetegui was sensationally sacked on the eve of the tournament.

Iniesta isn't the only player who will announce his retirement from global football.

Andres Iniesta could barely hide his disappointment, the anguish writ large upon his face.

But to the national media, this latest fiasco was all too familiar. "The coach makes the decisions and from that some agree and others don't".

However, 32-year-old Ramos said he plans to keep adding to his tally of 156 senior worldwide caps, and told reporters in the Luzhniki stadium mixed zone that he was positive about the younger players coming through the ranks. "All the problems began with the dismissal of Lopetegui and then continued with a team lacking in form and ideas".

"We wouldn't mind if Hierro continued", captain Sergio Ramos said.

The Spaniard equalled the record for the most saves in a Premier League match last season when he made 14 stops against Arsenal in December but he looked suspiciously jittery for Spain.

Russia's win over the 2010 world champions has boosted the confidence of what was the lowest-ranked team going into the tournament, and has whetted the hosts' appetite for more success.

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

Of course they can't do it alone and they will need a helping hand from the new generation of Spanish players who have been impressing in underage tournaments over the last few years.

He made only one save in four matches, and none in Sunday's shootout.