FIFA World Cup Russia 2018: Spain bow out, Iniesta announces retirement


Spain became the lastest in the list of footballing powerhouses to bow out of the FIFA World Cup after they lost their last-16 tie against hosts Russia 3-4 on penalties. The match had ended 1-1 after ninety minutes of normal time and thirty minutes of extra time at the Luizniki Stadium in Moscow.

Spain joined defending champions Germany, Argentina — runner-up at Brazil four years ago — and Portugal to make an early exit from this year’s world cup. While Germany bowed out in the group stages, Argentina were eliminated (after losing to France 4-3) in the last 16 and Portugal also losing their pre-quarterfinals against Uruguay on Saturday (June 30).

Meanwhile, Spanish great Andres Iniesta announced his retirement from international football after Spain’s loss to Russia.

On the other hand, in the other last-16 tie played yesterday (July 1), Croatia defeated Denmark 3-2 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 in normal and extra time. Croatia skipper Luka Modric could have sealed the victory in extra-time after they were awarded a penalty. But the dimunitive midfielder failed to score as Danish goal-keeper Kasper Schmeical dived to his left to produce a wonderful save.

Croatia, however, had the last laugh in the penalty shootout as Subasic produced three wonderful saves to take his country to the quarter-finals where they will face hosts Russia.

Meanwhile, Brazil will face Mexico and Belgium will lock horns with Japan in the two last-16 ties to be played today.