Ramos reveals the reason why Spain crashed out of World Cup

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He scored for Spain in its 3-0 win over Russian Federation in the semifinals of the European Championship in 2008, the last time the two teams played in a competitive fixture.

Some among the local media have pointed the finger at Real Madrid president Florentino Perez for destabilising the national team just before the tournament.

"That doesn't not worry me, I don't think it's something for right now", said Hierro when asked about his future in the role.

Russian Federation endured a tense wait when Kuipers was in communication with the video assistant referee following a late tug on Pique in the box, before Akinfeev's shootout heroics clinched an unforgettable triumph. That run was ended days later by a Spain team beginning its era of dominance. Still, World Cup history was on Russia's side after its well-organized team survived two hours of barely having the ball. "Putin said that the main thing in sports is the result, and this result is victorious for our team".

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Zlatko Dalic's team scored at least two goals in each of their three group matches, including firing three past hapless Argentina, to stake a claim as one of the dark horses in this tournament. "We left our soul in the pitch". Lopetegui was sacked because he had failed to tell the national soccer federation he accepted an offer to coach Real Madrid after the tournament.

It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and coach Fernando Hierro, who replaced Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid's offer to be their manager. The 34-year-old Barcelona midfielder came off the bench and nearly won the game with an 85th-minute shot well saved by Akinfeev. Spain are one of the most unconvincing group leaders.

While Spain dominated the game, it was two crucial saves from Igor Akinfeev in the penalty shootout that mattered most in the end.

Spain led in the 12th minute when Ramos helped force Russia's Sergei Ignashevich into an own goal when his back was turned to the play.

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"We have been working after each game and we have some time now to check who is ready to do what (against Croatia)".

But the chant roared by the 80,000-crowd packed into Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium - the same word echoing in bars and metro stations and shouted in Komsomolsk-on-Amur 6,000 kilometres (3,800 miles) to the east - was "Ro-ssi-ya!" over and over again.

Defender Gerard Pique may also have played his final match with Spain.

Spain's inconsistencies have been magnified by the form of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

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Portugal's route to the knockout stages was less straightforward and they had to survive a late scare against Iran to progress. The team is in great form and will have a tough competition against Portugal , which also happens to be in a great form.

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