Spain coach confirms De Gea as goalkeeper for Iran match

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Krasnodar (Russia), June 18 (IANS) Spain coach Fernando Hierro confirmed on Monday that David De Gea will continue as goalkeeper in their second 2018 FIFA World Cup match against Iran, despite failing to stop Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring a hat trick in their opening match of the tournament.

Spain tied 3-3 with Portugal on Friday in their first international match under newly-minted head coach Hierro, who took the job just two days before the World Cup after Julen Lopetegui was sacked for announcing he would lead Real Madrid next season, reports Efe.

“We see he (De Gea) is calm, training as usual,” Hierro said at a press conference ahead Wednesday’s clash with Iran.

“I have clear ideas and the way forward. From my experience, athletes need confidence not only in good times,” he added.

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Hierro said De Gea was ready to play after taking a day off with his parents, which allowed him to put the tough match against Portugal behind him.

For 2010 World Cup champion Spain, the draw had felt more like a defeat, especially given the team’s inspired performance in spite of a tumultuous few days marked by their abrupt change in coaches on the eve of the tournament.

Spain and Portugal are tied for second in Group B with one point each, while Iran leads the group with three points after beating Morocco 1-0 earlier Friday.

–IANS

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