Spain bow out of FIFA World Cup 2018 with heads held high, says Sergio Ramos

Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties thanks to two saves by their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on Sunday to advance to the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-finals where they will face Croatia.

Sergio Ramos insists Spain leave with their “heads held high” after being dumped out of the World Cup by hosts Russia on Sunday. Igor Akinfeev was Russia’s hero after saving penalties from Koke and Iago Aspas as 2010 champions Spain, who dominated possession without creating clear chances, were defeated 4-3 on penalties after  the game had   finished 1-1.

Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest scorer of an own goal in World Cup history when the 38-year-old gave Spain an early lead at the Luzhniki Stadium. Hosts Russia drew level in the 41st minute, Artem Dzyuba smashing home a penalty after his header was blocked by Gerard Pique’s arm in the box.

Their spot-kick exit caps a tumultuous campaign for Spain, with head coach Julen Lopetegui having been dramatically sacked on the eve of the tournament and replaced with Fernando Hierro. But Ramos was in mood to admonish his team-mates after their emotional elimination.

“We leave with our heads held high,” he said, as quoted byMundo Deportivo. “They played to get to penalties from the start. It was the only way to do us damage.

“We hope this isn’t the last World Cup for this generation. It’s very tough to go out like this, with these players.

“I’m proud of them as captain because we put our souls into trying to win out there. We did everything possible.”