Spain name Hierro as coach for World Cup after sacking Lopetegui on eve of kickoff
Spain on Wednesday named federation sporting director Fernando Hierro as its World Cup coach to replace Julen Lopetegui, who was sensationally sacked after his appointment as Real Madrid manager.
"Fernando Hierro will assume coaching responsibilities at the World Cup in Russia," the Spanish football federation announced.
The 50-year-old Hierro's only real coaching experience came when he was in charge of second division Spanish outfit Oviedo for one season.
Spain sacked coach Lopetegui just two days before the team's opening game against Portugal at the World Cup. The shock announcement was made by Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales at a press conference on Wednesday.
In a surprise move on Tuesday, Real Madrid named Lopetegui as their next manager to start work after the tournament in Russia, sparking outrage among the federation and Spanish fans at the timing of the announcement.
"We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish you the greatest of luck. What you get…will have to do with the work you've developed," said Spanish football chief Rubiales at the press conference.
The RFEF requests the maximum respect to maintain the normality in the concentration of the national team at the doors of our debut in the tournament against Portugal.
"I have spoken with the players, and I can guarantee that they will do everything they can with the new coaching staff, we are in a very difficult situation.
"I do not feel betrayed because Julen has done a relentless job, but we are forced to move on this because of how things have been done," Rubiales continued.
"He is a professional, but this is not correct and we can't look the other way.
"You can't do things like that, five minutes before it's official.
"I came from Moscow because this issue is more important, and we had to react.
"I saw it in the press, it had already happened, and because of my responsibility, I know that whatever I do, there will be criticism.