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Fernando Hierro appointed new Spain manager for World Cup 2018 after Julen Lopetegui sacking

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/06/2018 Standard sport
Fernando Hierro wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Evening Standard Limited

Fernando Hierro will coach the Spain squad for the World Cup following the shock sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced the Hierro - their current sporting director - will oversee Spain's World Cup challenge in Russia after Lopetegui was sensationally sacked on Wednesday morning just two days before their first game in Russia against Portugal.

"Fernando Hierro will assume the position of national coach in the World Championship of Russia and will appear before the media accompanied by the president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales," a short statement on the federation's website read.

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"Next, he will direct his first training and on Friday he will debut in Sochi at the match of Spain against Portugal."

On Tuesday morning, Real Madrid confirmed that Lopetegui will be their new coach next season - and Rubiales pointed the finger of blame at the Spanish club as the nation's World Cup preparations descended into turmoil.

​Real's announcement said he would begin his new role following the World Cup, but Rubiales was unhappy to have only been made aware of the news five minutes before the Champions League winners made the news official.

On Wednesday, Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by well over an hour before Rubiales addressed the media.

"We have been forced to dispense with the national coach, we wish him the best of luck" he said.

"I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things. The Spanish team is the team of all Spain.

"If it had been up to Julen it wouldn't have happened in this way and I wouldn't have found out five minutes beforehand.

"The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information. (We were told) just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.

"Obviously there was some sort of problem with communication but we can't be expected to find out about something like this five minutes (before the announcement) and not take the necessary decisions."

Hierro - who played for Real Madrid and Bolton Wanderers among other clubs - has only one year of experience previously in management, taking charge of Real Oviedo in 2016.

The former defender won five La Liga titles at the Bernabeu along with three Champions League triumphs.

Gallery: Julen Lopetegui and other cases of World Cup self-sabotage (Grid)

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