The Spanish FA have appointed Fernando Hierro as new manager after sacking Julen Lopetegui for accepting Real Madrid job on eve of World Cup.

Spain take on Portugal in their opening World Cup game on Friday. The 2010 World Cup winners will also face Iran and Morocco in group B. Hierro who was previously holding the role of Sporting Director, made 89 appearances for Spain as a player, and the former Real Madrid centre-back will take over throughout the tournament in Russia. “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 statement read. “Next, he will direct his first training and on Friday he will debut in Sochi at the premiere of Spain against Portugal.”

Julen Lopetegui was dismissed as Spain national team manager after the 51-year-old was named Real Madrid’s new head coach on Tuesday afternoon (June 12). “The coach (Lopetegui), while he is a RFEF employee cannot do things in this way. I found out with a phone call five minutes before the official announcement. We feel obliged to take this decision,” Rubiales told a news conference at the team base in Krasnodar.

“If anyone wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us, too. It’s that basic. This is a Spain national team that represents all Spaniards, it’s the most important team we have and the World Cup is the biggest stage of them all. I don’t feel betrayed, the problem is that things have been done with the complete absence of the RFEF, which is something (we) cannot let go by.”

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