Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Spain and Sergio Ramos set World Cup passing records against resolute Russian Federation

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Shannon Reynolds | 03 July, 2018, 14:08

Spain arrived at the World Cup convinced they were ready to rule world football again but Sunday's defeat to Russian Federation in the last 16 has set the 2010 champions back a decade and brought an end to a glorious generation.

"This is unreal, no-one thought it could happen".

Rubiales said he believed Spain had lost to an inferior team.

The former Barcelona playmaker was the main man for Spain, scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final eight years ago against the Netherlands, finishing from close range in the dying moments of extra time. "We need our personality".

After the match, Moscow erupted in street celebrations with throngs of people dancing in squares, street musicians playing the national anthem and fans chanting "Russia!".

As darkness fell on the capital, fans leant out of auto windows waving flags as crowds danced in the street in front of traffic policemen.

Putin did not attend the match in Moscow and it is not known if he will attend Russia's quarter-final.

"Before the match, around noon, the president called the coach and wished him well", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

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Caretaker La Roja boss Fernando Hierro, the hitherto Spain FF technical director, failed to find the right mix of his superstar players to propel his team to the heady heights of South Africa 2010 when they were crowned champions.

"It's the best gift ever", the groom, who is a soccer fan and amateur player himself, said. The penalty shootout was one more example.

"We cheered so hard".

"It doesn't bother me and it isn't too important just now", he said.

So low were Russia's expectations going into the tournament that a satirical song mocking the team went viral online, garnering more than nine million views on YouTube.

"I don't regret anything", said Luis Rubiales when asked for his thoughts after the elimination.

"This morning I was very nervous but now it is time to celebrate".

Where Spain go from here is far from clear.

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