Spain in chaos after World Cup coach is fired

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Rubiales said that "as of this afternoon, with the new coach and his staff, we'll move forward", without naming a successor, but the Spanish federation followed soon after with a statement that sporting director Fernando Hierro would take the reins. But the federation can not be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees, and find out just five minutes before a public announcement.

Rubiales continued; "I'm sure this will, in time, make us stronger".

Assistant Fernando Hierro will replace Lopetegui as the squad gets ready to take on Portugal in its first Group B match of the tournament, Spanish soccer federal president Luis Rubiales announced.

"The RFEF can not stay on the margin of the contractual situation of one of its workers", he said. We have been obliged to make this decision.

"We have to work on a series of decisions that come just two days before the opener", Rubiales said.

"There's a lot to do".

There were fears his appointment could open up old divisions between the Real Madrid and Barcelona factions in the Spain squad. Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with Spain on May 22 extending his contract until 2020.

Rubiales claimed he was left with little option after Lopetegui was named as the next head coach of Real Madrid, claiming those discussions took place without the RFEF's knowledge and that he only found out minutes before Los Blancos made their official announcement.

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To think, Spain play their opening game against Portugal.

The decision to remove Lopetegui appears to be at odds with how senior members of the national team feel.

There are six Madrid players in Spain's team for the World Cup.

A goalkeeper in his playing days, he has previously been involved with Real Madrid, moving from his native Basque country to play with Castilla in 1985 and even making one appearance for the first team.

"I admire Julen a lot, I respect him a lot, I think he's a top trainer and that makes it more hard to make the decision". Rubiales repeatedly dodged questions over whether he had taken their advice before making the decision to fire the coach. "This is not the best solution but in life you can not escape your responsibilities", said Rubiales.

Lopetegui became Spain manager in 2016 following Vicente del Bosque's retirement, and remained unbeaten through his reign.

Rubiales took over a federation which was in the hands of embattled official Angel Maria Villar for almost three decades.

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