Hierro appointed Spain coach after sensational Lopetegui sacking

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Their first game is against Euro 2016 winners Portugal on Friday and they will also play Morocco and Iran during the group stage.

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, reportedly found out about Lopetegui's decision just 15 minutes before Madrid's official club announcement, and chose to go in a different direction managerially.

There have been two days of drama at the Spanish FA, but Luis Rubiales is confident that the players of the Spanish national team are still focussed on winning the World Cup. "We wish you the greatest of luck", said Rubiales to (via BBC Sport). "The Federation can not be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees and find out just five minutes before a public announcement".

But Madrid's announcement that Lopetegui would replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid immediately caused controversy around the Spanish national team.

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"My message is: "We have a magnificent team and hopefully we can go on to win the World Cup" but I can't say any more than that'".

"He followed it up by saying: "[It's] a hard situation in these moments for our squad but now more than ever is when we have to support them without stopping.

The man who made a decision to sack Spain boss Julen Lopetegui two days before the country played their World Cup opener used to play for Hamilton Academical.

He managed the Spain team 20 times and won 14 matches, drawing the other six games.

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"I think Rubiales acted correctly and was looking out for the federation, which should be above any single individual", Hernandez told sports daily Marca. We have been compelled to make this decision'.

And he may hold his first press conference at 5.30pm BST, while the first game of the World Cup between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia is still being played.

Lopetegui, a former goalkeeper who represented both Madrid and Barcelona during his playing days, has signed a three-year deal with the Spanish club.

In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, 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.

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Sergio Ramos was the first Spain player to speak up. I won't judge a club on how they act but, until a few minutes before, we were kept in the dark.

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