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Russia 2018: Lopetegui exit caused Spain World Cup fiasco - Balague

Russia 2018: Lopetegui exit caused Spain World Cup fiasco - Balague

Sky Sports' Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague has said that the sacking of Julen Lopetegui caused Spain's second round exit from the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Spain sacked Lopetegui two days to the World Cup shortly after he was announced as the new boss of Real Madrid. He was replaced by Fernando Hierro.

After a not too impressive group stage performance, the Spanish team were knocked out of the tournament by host Russia on penalties.

Balague criticized the decision to put Andres Iniesta on the bench before he was brought on in the second half.

Despite being over thirty, it was unusual to see the Barcelona legend on the bench as he is still very competent and experienced to help the Spanish team in any game.

Balague also said that striker Diego Costa should have been left on the pitch instead of being removed.

With the quality of players at Spain's disposal, beating Russia should not have been a problem. The biggest problem they had was the inability of their midfielders to give incisive passes that could unlock the Russian defence by locating their players in dangerous positions.

It is unlikely that Spain's coach Fernando Hierro will continue as the coach after the World Cup as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is already being linked with the job.