Spain coach Fernando Hierro not worrying about his role with team going forward

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Fernando Hierro and Spain are going home sooner than expected.

Spain’s Fernando Hierro may be on the hot seat now that the nation have crashed out of the World Cup with a loss to Russia on penalties in the last 16 tie, but the coach doesn’t believe it’s time to be concerned about his future.

After Spain and Russia were knotted at one apiece after 90 minutes and extra time, the hosts pulled out the victory by triumphing 4-3 in a shootout. While Russia netted their first four spot-kicks, Koke and Iago Aspas saw their attempts saved by Igor Akinfeev.

Failure to advance despite being the heavy favourite puts Hierro under the spotlight, especially after he was brought in as a replacement for Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on the eve of the tournament.

Nevertheless, Hierro isn’t sweating just yet.

“That doesn’t not worry me, I don’t think it’s something for right now,” he said of his role with Spain.

“Now we need to share this difficult moment. We all wanted to great things at this tournament.

“We’re talking about a generation of extraordinary players and we haven’t been performing at the level we expect in the World Cup.”

Hierro added: “We had opportunities to win this match but we ended up in a penalty shootout which is basically a lottery, and we weren’t lucky.

“I don’t think you can talk about the team breaking down or there being any sort of collapse.”

“In football there’s a fine line between winning and losing.”

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Best images as Russia shock Spain to progress to the last eight of World Cup

Russia captain Igor Akinfeev was the hero as the hosts stunned Spain 4-3 on penalties after they played out a 1-1 draw at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Akinfeev had already made good saves as Russia held on to force extra-time and spot-kicks – but he then saved from Koke and Iago Aspas in the shoot-out.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov dropped Spanish-based winger Denis Cheryshev and went with five at the back. The limitations of this became obvious when Aleksandr Golovin scampered down the wing in the fourth minute but had nobody to cross to – he held on and settled for a corner.

Spain, meanwhile, passed and passed and passed. And then in the 11th minute, right-back Nacho was fouled just outside the Russian box, giving Marco Asensio no excuse whatsoever but to deliver a ball into the box.

The Real Madrid star did so and it was a fine delivery, but not as good as Sergey Ignashevich made it look. A fortnight short of his 39th birthday, the CSKA stopper is old enough to know you need to watch the ball. Sadly, he had eyes only for Sergio Ramos, who he successfully wrestled to the floor only for the ball to cannon off his heel for a comical own goal.

Here, we take a look at some of the best images from an entertaining game of football.

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Now is the time for Neymar to shine, says Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva

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Thiago Silva has backed Neymar to follow in the footsteps of Paris St Germain team-mates Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani by shining in the World Cup knockout stages.

Brazil forward Neymar came into the tournament lacking fitness following a foot injury and scored once during three group games.

Fellow PSG players Mbappe and Cavani were instrumental in their countries reaching the quarter-finals on Saturday, each scoring twice as France knocked out Argentina and Uruguay saw off Portugal.

Brazil face Mexico in the last 16 of the competition on Monday.

And defender Silva, who plays with all three players in Paris, believes Neymar could replicate the exploits of France forward Mbappe and Uruguay striker Cavani.

“Yesterday, when the (France and Uruguay) games were over, I thought the same thing, that Neymar will have his way in our match,” said Silva at Brazil’s pre-match press conference.

“They (Mbappe and Cavani) were both fundamental for the victories.

“I think Paris St Germain is very well represented (at the World Cup), but now we are talking about the Brazilian national team and I think our team is very balanced.

“In the right moments, we have the right freedom for the strikers to do what they do best.

“We hope tomorrow is going to be a great and Neymar is inspired as well as the other players.”

Left-back Marcelo will be absent for the five-time champions in Samara after he was forced off injured in the final group game against Serbia, with Felipe Luis set to deputise.

Thiago Silva

Coach Tite was impressed with how Neymar performed against the Serbians as the player continues his recovery from foot surgery.

“He played very, very well against Serbia. I told him, ‘We know the price you have paid to climb back to this level’,” said Tite.

“He did everything we asked tactically, defending the full-back, and looked for goal, to dribble and run with the ball.”

Mexico helped eliminate defending champions Germany in the group stages as they reached the last 16 for the seventh successive World Cup.

They appeared on course to top Group F before a 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their third match left them in second place and facing a tough tie against Brazil.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio described Brazil as the best team in the world, but insists his players will attack, despite the tricky draw.

“We won’t sit back and wait, Brazil’s attackers are too good for that to be the right plan,” said the Colombian.

“We will stick to our idea of having at least four or five attacking players.

“I really think this is going to be a great opportunity for Mexican football to face, in the round of 16, the best team on the planet.

“And I think that we will have to play to to our full potential.

“It’s going to be a great game, especially for the neutrals.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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