Did Vladimir Putin phone call inspire Russian Federation to beat Spain?

I think Spain is a much better side than Russian Federation.

Ramos himself is not expected to retire following the shootout defeat to Russian Federation today.

Vladimir Putin called King Felipe VI of Spain after a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match between the two national teams.

For Spain, it's another disappointing exit in the World Cup.

Spain have conceded five goals in three games at this World Cup, three in the 3-3 draw against Portugal and two in the 2-2 tie with Morocco, and kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 success versus Iran.

Koke and Iago Aspas then both failed in the shoot-out, marking a disappointing end to the midfielder's glorious Spain career.

Russian Federation received the backing of president Vladimir Putin before their World Cup last-16 victory over Spain.

His defensive partner Sergio Ramos, who plays for Barcelona's rivals Real Madrid, has always stood by the centre-back's inclusion in the Spain side.

The World Cup's lowest-ranked team - 70th when the tournament began - now advances to a quarterfinal against Croatia or Denmark in Sochi on Saturday.

Huge men with painted faces held each other in bear hugs and cried tears of disbelief and joy, while others screamed the rallying cries of "Russya" and "Igor, Igor Akinfeev".

"This is a great victory for us, for the whole country, the soul of the country", Mikhail Sitner, 34, from Moscow, said.

"Honestly, before the tournament I had very low expectations, everyone was just hoping to God that we would get out of the group stage".

"I haven't regretted that decision or any other, because they are decisions made with responsibility, conviction and values, and it was not a sporting decision", the federation president said. "I'm sure all of Spain are proud of us".

  • Rosalie Stanley