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Spain coach Hierro: Portugal “extremely fortunate” to have Ronaldo

Russia Soccer WCup Portugal Spain

Spain’s team celebrates Nacho behind disappointed Portugal’s Bernardo Silva, center, after he scored his side’s third goal during the group B match between Portugal and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)


Spain coach Fernando Hierro says his side isn’t troubled by changing managers on the eve of the World Cup, even if things didn’t go to plan in its tournament opener.

[ RECAP: Portugal 3-3 Spain ]

“This is a mature squad, the team knows what it wants and have been playing a lot together,” Hierro said. “It is wonderful to have these mature, committed players.”

Hierro’s team twice equalized against Portugal before losing a 3-2 lead to a wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo free kick on Friday in Russia.

That draw came days after Spain, one of the tournament favorites, fired coach Julen Lopetegui for accepting the Real Madrid job without consulting them first.

Spain went down 1-0 and 2-1 to Cristiano Ronaldo goals, one a penalty kick, one bobbled by David De Gea, before the megastar scored his free kick equalizer.

“When you are playing a player like Ronaldo these things can happen. When you have a player like Ronaldo, it is extremely fortunate for whichever team has him, but I certainly would not change him for any of the players in my squad.”

Spain gets Morocco next.

Follow @NicholasMendola