By Chux Odoh
50-year-old former Spanish international and Real Madrid legend, Fernando Hierro was named as the manager of Spain on Wednesday 13 June 2018 after the sacking of Julen Lpetegui two days before today’s opening group B match at the World Cup against Portugal.
Lpetegui was suddenly sacked after the Spanish FA learnt of his decision to join Spanish giants Real Madrid after the tournament after only signing an extension to coach the national team in May. The new contract was expected to last till 2020.
Hierro is now saddled with the task of leading the La Roja as they search for their second world cup glory after winning the 2010 edition of the tournament in South Africa. The former Spanish skipper is however confident that Spanish team who are ranked 10th in the world will still be able to show their quality despite the last minute impromptu changes.
The new coach appeared before the media on Thursday for his pre-match press conference and while at it, attempted to restore calm ahead of his side’s big match against the A Seleção das Quinas of Portugal.
“It is true that there is very little time to prepare, but the moment is here and we are clear about what we want to achieve,” he said.
“This will not change, and we will see the same old Spain, the one that wants to take the initiative.”
The Portuguese team are coming to the tournament as the champions of Europe with current FIFA world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo leading the pack. Ronaldo won the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and is familiar with members of the Spanish team who are either teammates or play against him regularly.
Hierro is very much aware of the quality and the challenge that this Portugal side possess and will present, but he is confident his team are more than prepared for any eventualities.
“We know that Portugal have a great team and they are the champions of Europe.
“We are perfectly prepared and that is the most important thing.
“I have a ton of confidence in our players and the work they have put in over the past few years.”
Kickoff time for the game is 19:00hrs (7pm), local time and it is surely going to be a blistering encounter.