Andres Iniesta confirms international retirement following Spain’s FIFA World Cup 2018 exit
Andres Iniesta called time on his remarkable international career after Spain’s surprise FIFA World Cup 2018 exit at the hands of hosts Russia on Sunday.Updated: Jul 02, 2018 02:57 IST
Andres Iniesta has confirmed his international retirement after Spain’s shock penalty shoot-out defeat to Russia resulted in their World Cup elimination.
Among the favourites for the trophy heading into the tournament, Spain joined the likes of Germany, Portugal and Argentina in making an early exit when Igor Akinfeev kept out Iago Aspas’ penalty in Moscow.
Iniesta started on the bench on Sunday, coming on midway through the second half as Spain attempted to retake the lead cancelled out by Artem Dzyuba’s spot-kick, but could not inspire a victory.
And the 34-year-old, who will nowjoinVissel Kobe after calling time on his Barcelona career, confirmedhe has played his final game for Spain.
“It’s a reality that this is my last game with the national team, ona wonderful stage,” Iniesta, who scored the winner in Spain’s World Cup final victory over Netherlands in 2010, said.
“The endings are not always the way wedream.The national team will continue to be successfulbecause of the level of players we have and that is what they should try.”
Julen Lopetegui’s dismissal on the eve of the tournament undoubtedly unsettled Spain, but Iniesta insisted the players have no excuse for not overcoming the hosts.
“It would be an advantage to say that Lopetegui’s thing has to do with theresult, in the end those of us who have the ball are the players,” he continued.
“The main culprits in football are the players that are the ones on the field.”
First Published: Jul 02, 2018 02:04 IST