Spain sacks coach on eve of World Cup

David de Gea Spain Football 2018 FIFA World Cup FIFA World Cup 2018

One of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain's World Cup hopes are now in disarray and, although Rubiales claimed the decision "will make us stronger", it is hard to see how La Roja can recover from such a blow just two days before their bow at Russian Federation 2018.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales, who was told of Lopetegui's new job five minutes before it was announced, said he had found himself in "a very hard situation".

"We have to chose to fire the national coach", Rubiales said in a press conference on Wednesday. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.

"You can't do things like that, five minutes before it's official. There's a way to act that needs to be fulfilled".

Hierro finished his playing career with Bolton Wanderers during the 2004/05 season and despite the fact that he managed to get 89 caps for the Spanish National Team, the circumstances in which he has been appointed as the Spain boss are truly unique.

"We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticized, I accept that".

Spain football association announced technical director Fernando Hierro as the national coach, hours after the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

Spain, one of the pre-tournament favourites and winners in 2010, also face Morocco and Iran in their group in Russian Federation. They key is to change as little as possible.

Lopetegui signed a deal with Spain until 2020 on May 22 but Real Madrid have swooped for his services and he has agreed to join the Spanish giants after the Russian Federation tournament. "Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger".

As it goes, the man who will take charge of the team while in Russian Federation will be Fernando Hierro (one of Zidane's former Real Madrid teamates).

Lopetegui said it would have been "bad" to hide his appointment from the Spain squad, adding "the players took it well".

After all, Lopetegui had impressed by leading the national team to the top of its qualifying group and had kept it undefeated in 20 matches since taking over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016.

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