RFEF president Luis Rubiales calms fears after Spain's Julen Lopetegui sacking

Manchester United star David De Gea responds to Real Madrid transfer links

He was dismissed on Wednesday, with Spain sporting director Fernando Hierro - who previously played for Real Madrid and Bolton - taking charge for the tournament.

La Roja were among the favourites to lift the trophy this summer but the astonishing developments of the past two days could have a devastating affect on their chances.

Spanish newspaper Marca report that Lopetegui flew out of Krasnodar airport shortly after the announcement and is already back in Spain.

"The coach, while he is a RFEF employee can not do things in this way". (We were told) just five minutes before the press release.

He said: "We have been forced to dispense with the national coach".

The national team's sporting director, and former Spain captain, Fernando Hierro now takes over on an interim basis for the World Cup and he is likely to be assisted by Under-21 boss Albert Celades out in Russian Federation.

However, the decision angered the Spanish FA, with Rubiales adding: "I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things".

Spanish federation chief Luis Rubiales is reportedly furious at Lopetegui's decision to take the job, having signed a contract extension until 2020 just last month. I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen, it's a very complex situation, the most complex one I could find. "They've shown me they are "all in" here and I have no doubt they'll give their all whatever happens", he said.

They will also have to try and negotiate their way out of a group containing Iran and Morocco if they are to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

"Hierro has acted in a very honest way", Rubiales stated. Zidane announced his surprising resignation two weeks ago.

In 20 games, Lopetegui managed 14 victories and six draws, with 61 goals scored and 13 conceded - giving them the best record of any of the 24 teams in Russian Federation this summer over the last two years.

The appointment comes as Lopetegui is making his final preparations for Spain's opening match against Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

"The values of the national team are above everything", he said on Twitter.

Although, if he takes Spain deep in the World Cup then little will be made of that. Moscow has had to prepare for the event while coping with damaging Western sanctions.

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