Hierro replaces sacked Lopetegui as Spain manager

David de Gea Spain 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.

Spanish FA chiefs were left furious following Lopetegui being announced as Real Madrid boss, and the decision was made tonight to fire him, despite their first World Cup game being just two days away.

Rubiales said they will quickly pick a new coach and that the information will be released soon. "We feel for him that he could not achieve his great goal of success with his country".

Rubiales went on to say that he had heard the news "five minutes before Real Madrid announced it". "There's a way to act that needs to be fulfilled".

The club released a statement this afternoon to that effect which said: "Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of Real Madrid after the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation".

Earlier in the day, Spain delayed a press conference at the same venue by well over an hour before Rubiales announced he had dismissed Lopetegui - pointing the finger of blame at Real Madrid, rather than the outgoing coach.

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Sky Sports Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague has revealed why Real Madrid appointed Julen Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane's successor ahead of Chelsea's Antonio Conte, Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp.

Spain face Portugal on Friday in the Fisht Olympic Stadium at 7pm, and all eyes will be on Hierro and his team as they look to put this incident behind them.

Rubliales quickly replaced Lopetegui with the director of football, Fernando Hierro. "Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger". "It is a hard and painful situation, we would have liked to finish here with Julen at the top, but we have not determined the way we act".

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on the 15th of June, followed by matches against Iran and Morocco on the 20th and 25th respectively. "I know the circumstances and Julen's work has been fantastic and I wish him all the best", he said.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Lopetegui would take over at Real Madrid once the tournament had come to a conclusion - news that came as a surprise to many.

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