Football: Fernando Hierro to leave job as Spain coach after last-16 World Cup exit, says federation

Under Fernando Hierro, who had little previous coaching experience, 2010 winners Spain lost on penalties to host nation Russia in the last 16.
Under Fernando Hierro, who had little previous coaching experience, 2010 winners Spain lost on penalties to host nation Russia in the last 16.PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (AFP, REUTERS) - Fernando Hierro, who stood in as Spain coach when Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup, will not continue in the role, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Sunday (July 8).

Under the former Real Madrid and Spain defender, who had little previous coaching experience, 2010 winners Spain lost on penalties to host nation Russia in the last 16.

"After many kilometres travelled together, the Spanish Football Federation and Fernando Hierro have called an end to their relationship now that Spain have finished their participation in the World Cup," said a statement on the Spain team's website (www.sefutbol.com).

"The last Spain coach has declined to return to his old job as sporting director of the federation in order to look for new horizons and new professional challenges."

Hierro rejected suggestions that the team would have fared better had the RFEF not decided to axe Lopetegui for taking on the Real job before the Finals.

He was named sporting director for the second time in 2017 but was unexpectedly catapulted into the role of national team coach the day before the World Cup began.

Hierro previously had just one season's experience as a coach with Real Oviedo.

Spain won only one of their four games in Russia, a 1-0 victory over Iran in the group stage, and drew 3-3 with Portugal and 2-2 with Morocco.

They finished top of Group B but suffered a shock elimination by hosts Russia in the last 16 last Sunday in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.

"The federation would like to thank Fernando Hierro for his commitment and sense of responsibility for taking charge of the national team in extraordinary circumstances and his other roles for the organisation, which will always be his home," added the statement.