wnol.info July 21 2018

Julen Lopetegui Hits Back At Spanish FA's Decision To Sack Him

July 21 2018, 08:09 | Van Peters

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Spain sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui after he was named the new Real Madrid manager just two days before their opening World Cup match with Portugal.

He cited Chelsea signing then Italy boss Antonio Conte before Euro 2016 and Manchester United confirming Dutch manager Louis van Gaal's appointment before the 2014 World Cup.

"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 RFEF, Luis Rubiales", a statement from the federation said.

"I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do", said Rubiales.

"I am very calm about everything I have done". He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.

Lopetegui was spectacularly axed on Wednesday after it emerged he had agreed to take charge of Real Madrid after the World Cup.

Rubliales quickly replaced Lopetegui with the director of football, Fernando Hierro.

The national team's sporting director, and former Spain captain, Fernando Hierro now takes over on an interim basis for the World Cup and he is likely to be assisted by Under-21 boss Albert Celades out in Russian Federation.

There were initially reports that the Spain team had tried to fight to keep their manager in place however according to Spanish newspaper SPORT only captain Sergio Ramos spoke up in defence of his soon to be club boss.

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Oscar Tabarez leads two-time champion Uruguay into his fourth World Cup - most among all coaches in this year's tournament - and third in a row.

The players took that message on board and stayed faithful to Lopetegui's request.

There were plenty of smiles and embraces between the players as they trained on the pitch in the stunning Sochi stadium, situated a stone's throw from the beach and the Black Sea.

"It is a nice challenge and an exciting one", he said.

"The circumstances are what they are and from now on I accept the responsibility bravely, it can't be any other way".

Spain players reportedly resisted his sacking, which came as Spain are due to face European champions Portugal in Sochi on Friday before taking on Iran and Morocco in Group B of the tournament.

"If it is true what I read that the president of the federation was informed a couple of minutes before the club [Real Madrid] made it official then it is a odd process".

"They key is to change as little as possible. We can not change anything in two days".

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