Russia adds to list of famous World Cup upsets

Spain team news Andres Iniesta

Many feared the worst when the hosts entered the tournament as the lowest-ranked team and without a win in eight months.

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.

Andres Iniesta, 34, and Gerard Pique, 31 - who won the World Cup alongside Ramos in 2010 - have already confirmed that they are leaving the national setup following a third straight disappointment at an worldwide tournament, with other members of Spain's golden generation including David Silva, 32, and Pepe Reina, 35, also expected to bow out now.

Spain's style of play has been found out during this World Cup.

"I'm not an opportunist", said Hierro, who was part of Lopetegui's coaching staff.

And so Iniesta's final World Cup match proved his last for Spain, too.

'What started badly, ended badly, ' wrote Marca. "All the problems began with the dismissal of Lopetegui and then continued with a team lacking in form and ideas". "We were hoping for penalties and that's what happened, thank God", the keeper said. It's completely pointless to analyse the past, we made the decisions we made but I am not going to lay blame at the feet of other people. You can not later look in hindsight because of a result on the pitch'.

"I put my head on the line to be coach two days before the Portugal match".

But defensive errors and tactical rigidity soon came to the fore as poor displays followed against Iran, Morocco and Russian Federation.

Artem Dzyuba equalised from a penalty for the hosts three minutes before halftime after Gerard Pique handled in the area.

The squad and the team's coaches seemed confident that a goal would come along at some point, or certain that they'd comfortably beat Russian Federation on penalties.

"You don't exactly get used to this".

Hierro, meanwhile, praised Iniesta's reaction.

Hierro's coaching experience was limited to a year alongside Carlo Ancelotti as assistant at Real Madrid in 2014-15 and a single season at Oviedo in 2016-17, leading the Asturian side to an underwhelming eighth-placed finish in Spain's second tier. Heading into this year's World Cup many pundits were tipping them to repeat their heroics once again.

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