Russia adds to list of famous World Cup upsets

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"I think that the country believed in us and maybe many had doubts ahead of the match with Spain".

It was not as brutally obvious as the debacle in Brazil four years ago, when Netherlands gained revenge by crushing them 5-1 in their opening fixture, but the details do not make for happy reading.

Fernando Hierro is not expected to continue as coach ahead of the UEFA Nations League, although Ramos praised how the former Spain and Real Madrid player had dealt with a job he found himself doing unexpectedly just days before the tournament began.

Spain captain Sergio Ramos says the pain of their 2018 FIFA World Cup exit will motivate him to remain to play until Qatar 2022 in the wake of the major La Roja retirements. The host started the tournament with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, with Aleksandr Golovin creating trouble with his free roving role, but Russia's biggest triumph came in its 5-4 win over Spain in the last-16.

There was more penalty drama in the later match in Nizhny Novgorod, with Croatia coming out on top 3-2 just minutes after Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had saved a penalty at the end of extra-time.

"I haven't regretted that decision or any other because they are decisions made with responsibility, conviction and values, and it was not a sporting decision", the federation president said.

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Julen Lopetegui was sacked as Spain's coach shortly before the World Cup.

"You have (Andres) Iniesta, (David) Silva, you can not really find better names or better players in these positions".

"In sport, the best don't always win".

"To [those who] supported, suffered and criticised us with respect, thanks", he said via a Twitter post. "We're talking about a generation of extraordinary players and we haven't been performing at the level we expect in the World Cup".

But they won't have numerous veterans to help them, as Iniesta officially retired from the national team and many others are unlikely to be back for the next World Cup.

Hierro said after taking over the squad he wouldn't change what had worked in the past, but it was unclear if he had changed his mind after Sunday's elimination.

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