Spain fired its coach two days before first World Cup game

David de Gea Spain 2018

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Spain coach Julen Lopetegui attends a press conference in Krasnodar, Russia June 8, 2018. He has done well through the levels with Spain, he is doing well now, and even though they have stuttered in some of the World Cup warm-up games, the football being played by Spain has been fantastic.

"I share the decision that Luis Rubiales has taken, it is not an easy situation but I think it is the right thing to do", Xavi said.

The 50-year-old Hierro, a former national team player and Real Madrid captain, will be taking on his first major coaching job. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.

In a surprise announcement on yesterday, 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.

The Spanish Football Association reportedly believed it would be inappropriate for Lopetegui to continue his tenure, considering he only informed the Spanish FA of dealings with Real just minutes before the official press release from the mega-club.

"We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticized, I accept that".

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The squad of players which sailed through qualifying and remain one of the pre-tournament favourites remained fully committed to the cause, Hierro said.

"It's a hard situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken".

Because he was sacked, Madrid won't have to pay the US$2.3 million of the termination clause on Lopetegui's contract.

The World Cup kicks off on Thursday when host nation Russian Federation plays Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Six of Spain's 23 players in Lopetegui's World Cup squad are Real stars, and the former Spain U19, U20 and U21 coach has also worked with a few of the club's younger players, such as Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral, at youth level.

'I do not feel betrayed, the problem is how things have been done with the total absence of participation of the Spanish Football Federation, that is something we can not ignore, Lopetegui is an impeccable professional but the process is important. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger. I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen, it's a very complex situation, the most complex one I could find. We have been forced to act. I know there will be criticism but the values of the RFEF are set by the RFEF itself.

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