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Hierro reappointed at RFEF

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup: Who has qualified for the finals in Russia next year

Final grid for 2018 World Cup Russia
With 32 teams having qualified, the field for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is set.

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, which began on March 12, 2015, is over with the final 32 teams now known. The seeded draw pots can be seen in full here.

Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uruguay.


Fernando Hierro reappointed Spanish Football Association sporting director

Fernando Hierro (left) made 439 appearances for Real Madrid between 1989 and 2003.

The Spanish Football Association has re-appointed former Spain and Real Madrid defender Fernando Hierro as its sporting director.

Hierro held the post between 2007 and 2011, during which time the national team tasted victory at the 2008 European Championships and the World Cup two years later.

The Spanish FA (RFEF) announced his return on its official website on Thursday.

Hierro was the coach of Segunda Division Real Oviedo last season, but left the club by mutual consent in the summer.

 By Ben Gladwell

Italian FA chief Carlo Tavecchio slams Gian Piero Ventura's team selection

With Serie A fans calling for a strike, Steve Nicol and Mark Donaldson delve into Carlo Tavecchio's standing with the Italian FA.

Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio blamed manager Gian Piero Ventura for getting his team selection wrong as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Ventura was sacked on Wednesday, 48 hours after Italy missed a World Cup for the first time in six decades.

"It was a technical debacle," Tavecchio told Mediaset's Le Iene programme." It was a technical mistake in how the team was picked.

"I've not slept for four days. We played badly. We needed to get past them [Sweden] -- all 1.90 metres tall...

 By Ben Gladwell

Gian Piero Ventura: 'Difficult days, with deep sorrow' since Italy sacking

Gian Piero Ventura said he had endured a difficult week after being sacked as Italy coach following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Ventura was axed on Wednesday after 15 months in charge following the 1-0 aggregate playoff defeat to Sweden that saw Italy miss their first World Cup in 60 years.

"These have been, and are, difficult days for me, with deep sorrow," the 69-year-old told ANSA on Friday.

"I feel incomplete since I did not reach this objective of the World Cup.


 By Ben Gladwell

Fans want Serie A strike over Italy World Cup failure, says players' boss

With Serie A fans calling for a strike, Steve Nicol and Mark Donaldson delve into Carlo Tavecchio's standing with the Italian FA.
Relive ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti's passionate response after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Gab Marcotti and Craig Burley go back and forth on how much Gian Piero Ventura is at fault for Italy missing the World Cup.
Watch the reaction of Italy's players after the four-time world champions missed qualifying for a 15th straight World Cup.

The president of the Italian Professional Footballers' Association (AIC), Damiano Tommasi, says he has been flooded with calls from fans asking him to ballot for a strike in Serie A out of protest at Italian FA (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio's refusal to resign.

Tommasi left an FIGC meeting on Wednesday when Tavecchio announced he was to fight on amid calls for him to step down following Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

The former Roma midfielder, who had spells with QPR, Levante...