Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta confirmed on Sunday that his international career is over after 130 caps highlighted by his scoring of the winner in the 2010 World Cup final. "It is a fact that today was my last game. A wonderful chapter has ended," the 34-year-old told reporters after Spain's elimination on penalties against hosts Russia in the World Cup last 16.
Iniesta came on as a substitute in the second half and came close to scoring late, before scoring a penalty during shoot-outs. His national team career spanned 12 years since a 2006 debut and along with Xavi he pulled the strings in midfield en route to titles at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. Iniesta scored the 1-0 winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 final.
Iniesta will continue his club career at Vissel Kobe in Japan after leaving Barcelona where he spent his previous 16 professional years. Coach Fernando Hierro defended his decision not to field Iniesta as a starter Sunday and praised his effort when he came on after the hour. "I would give him 10 of 10. He played with the same ambition as if it was his first international cap," Hierro said.