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Despite making an astounding 1,107 total passes, Spain could not break the 1-1 deadlock and their fate was sealed when Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev booted away Iago Aspas' spot kick to cap a 4-3 shoot-out win for the hosts.

Chelsea midfielder Fabregas formed part of those plans, alongside the creative instincts of Barcelona icons Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

The diminutive maestro departed boyhood club Barcelona at the close of last season, moving to Japanese side Vissel Kobe on a lucrative three-year deal.

"It was the dream of my life to be able to defend the colours of my country".

The 34-year-old midfielder went on to reflect on his global career. We've achieved great success, things that we all dreamed of when we were small, but also we've had great disappointments and we've lived very hard moments.

"That doesn't worry me, I don't think it's something for right now", said Hierro when asked about his future in the role. I would like to thank you all for making me a better team-mate and footballer.

Suarez to Griezmann: Stop pretending to be Uruguayan
It should be noted that both Ronaldo and Messi would be 37 and 35 respectively when the next World Cup comes around. Uruguay had to withstand fierce late Portugal pressure as the European champions chased an equaliser.

Spain have stuck with that philosophy as they chase down further major honours, but their efforts this summer are considered to have lacked a spark as they play in front of opponents rather than around them. I've been proud to be able to share all these years with you.

"It's not an easy decision, on the contrary, I've been thinking about it a lot during the past months".

Fernando Hierro led the Spanish stars who were consoled by their relatives as they arrived at the airport with speculation trailing the continuation of certain key players. I don't have any doubt that what's coming will be fantastic and that they'll reap great success.

Switzerland, who have never done better than the spot in the last eight they achieved as hosts in 1954, take on the Swedes on Tuesday in St Petersburg with the winners going on to face England or Colombia.

Finally, Iniesta dedicated a few words to his family.

Andres Iniesta admits it's not the global farewell he wanted.