Spain had the World Cup at their mercy given a gentle side of the bracket but they were deservedly eliminated. EPA-MAHMOUD KHALED
European Photopress Agency

Spain coach Fernando Hierro said he had no regrets at taking the job two days before the World Cup despite his side’s second-round exit at the hands of hosts Russia on Sunday.

Hierro was rushed into the post after Julen Lopetegui was sensationally sacked for failing to tell his federation about his move to Real Madrid after the tournament, having already extended his contract to coach Spain.

Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales said a decision on whether Hierro will stay in his post would be made in the “coming weeks,” but the coach was composed and calm after the loss.

“I’m not an opportunist,” said Hierro, who was part of Lopetegui’s coaching staff. “The situation was what it was… there is no sense in looking back.

“I put my head on the line to be coach two days before the Portugal match… I thought I had to do it and I accept the consequences.”

Hierro also declined to place the blame for Spain’s exit on the coaching drama so soon before the tournament.

“There is a lot of pain in the delegation, the players, the coaching staff, the workers,” he told reporters. “We had great hopes for this World Cup and it wasn’t to be. But I have no complaints against anybody.”

Hierro said that Spain did everything right but that “football is like that” after his side dominated the tie over 120 minutes only to go out on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

“Like all Spaniards, we had high hopes and dreams and we are sad that we couldn’t do it for the millions of people who were following the game back home,” he said.

“This was just a question of football, of winning and losing. I can safely say that we can all look each other in the eye. The players have been extraordinary for their effort, their professionalism, their solidarity.”

Hierro also insisted that Spain should not change their possession-based style of play, even though their tactics failed to break down a stubborn Russia defence.

“We have our identity which is because of the type of players we have,” he said when asked about the playing style. “We need our personality… Before we started winning titles, people said we have no identity.”

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