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Lopetegui sacking won't hurt Spain at SWC

14 June 2018 1:32 PM
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Vatutinki - Germany midfielder Toni Kroos said Thursday that he doesn't think the sacking of Julen Lopetegui as coach on the eve of the World Cup will significantly harm Spain's chances in Russia.

Lopetegui was spectacularly axed on Wednesday after it emerged he had agreed to take charge of Real Madrid after the World Cup.

"I don't think it will be a huge disadvantage," Real star Kroos commented at Germany's team base.

"Of course, there are more ideal cases, but I believe the systems already in place will come together."

Kroos, 28, who has won the Champions League title three times with Real, says he has not had contact with his club, but gave his backing to Lopetegui's replacement Fernando Hierro.

The 50-year-old has been thrust into the job for Spain's opening World Cup match against Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

He has limited coaching experience and only returned to the role as sporting director at the national federation last November.

"I got to know Hierro in Madrid, he is a good bloke and a good trainer," added Kroos.

Germany kick off their World Cup title defence on Sunday when they face Mexico in Moscow, while Spain face European champions Portugal on Friday.

"It completely surprised me, I don't know the background of the decision, but two days before the first World Cup game -- it's amazing," admitted Germany coach Joachim Loew on Wednesday as the news first broke.

"Fernando Hierro has some experience as coach, I can't judge his abilities, but the Spanish are a team who know each other very well.

"I don't think the Spanish will lose any of their playing strength and class."

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Source: sport24.co.za

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