Putin congratulates Russian Federation after hosts stun Spain

Putin congratulates Russian Federation after hosts stun Spain

Putin congratulates Russian Federation after hosts stun Spain

The most wide open World Cup for decades continues to spring surprises with Sunday's elimination of Spain being the latest headline grabber.

"Like all Spaniards, we had high hopes and dreams and we are sad that we couldn't do it for the millions of people who were following the game back home", he said.

The city had been gripped by World Cup fever since the beginning of the tournament, as fans arrived from across the globe including thousands from Latin America.

The Spanish playmaker came off the bench against Russia in the second half (67') and converted the first penalty for Spain before seeing his team losing 3-4 after heroic performance from Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev who save 2 penalties.

"Thank God, we were lucky, that's it", said the keeper, who like his counterpart at the other end, David de Gea, had very little to break sweat over for the preceding 120 minutes.

Mighty Spain dominated the field at Luzhniki Stadium, dulled the senses with mind-numbing ball movement around the perimeter of the penalty area Sunday.

Spain, who parted ways with coach Julen Lopetegui just days before the tournament, joined England and Italy as the only teams to lose three shootouts at the World Cup, after they were also dumped out in the quarterfinals in 2002 to hosts South Korea and in 1986 to Belgium. "He went out as if it were his first game as a professional, helping his team mates".

Spain's dramatic defeat by Russian Federation on penalties in the World Cup round of 16 yesterday ensured that at least one of this year's finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all.

"He said that under Cherchesov's leadership, our guys have already accomplished the impossible - made it out of the group", said Peskov.

Iniesta scored the World Cup-winning goal in extra time back in 2010, and also played an integral part in both the Euro-winning sides in 2008 and 2012.

When Spain took the lead against Russian Federation through a Sergei Ignashevich own goal in the 12th minute, it was presumed they would ease to a comfortable victory to book their place in the quarter-finals.

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. "On a personal level, it's the end of a wonderful phase. We left our pride and soul out there".

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