MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s interim coach Fernando Hierro has cut his ties with the Spanish Football Federation following the team’s disastrous exit from the World Cup last week, the organization said on Sunday.
“After many kilometers traveled 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 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 when Julen Lopetegui was sacked after agreeing to join Real Madrid.
Under the former Real Madrid defender, who previously had just one season’s experience as a coach with Real Oviedo, Spain won one of their four games in Russia, a 1-0 victory over Iran in Group B, 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 organization, which will always be his home,” added the statement.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson