MOSCOW (Reuters) - 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, composed and calm despite the loss, 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.
He also said that Spain should not change their possession-based style of play, even though it failed to break down a stubborn Russia defense.
“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 told reporters.
“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.
“There is a lot of pain in the delegation, the players, the coaching staff, the workers,” he said. “We had great hopes for this World Cup and it wasn’t to be. But I have no complaints against anybody.”
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.
“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.”
Asked about Spain’s playing style, he said: “We have our identity which is because of the type of players we have. We need our personality... Before we started winning titles, people said we have no identity.”
Editing by Clare Fallon