Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Coaches say Hierro's substitutions hurt Spain

Published:Saturday | June 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Local coaches, Rudolph Speid, Lenworth Hyde and Jerome Waite all heaped blame on Spain's new coach, Fernando Hierro, for the country's 3-3 draw with Portugal in their Group B World Cup game in Russia yesterday.

Cavalier's Speid, Arnett Garden's Waite and former Humble Lion coach Hyde criticised Hierro for making the wrong substitutions, which they felt prevented Spain from collecting all three points from their opening encounter.

Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick for Portugal, but all three local coaches felt they were let off the hook by Hierro.

"The coach made a blunder when he took off (Diego) Costa, who was on a brace. He also took off Andres Iniesta and David Silva, who were controlling the middle, and that is where he lost the game. These blunders from this new coach cost Spain," Speid said.

"Spain played the better football. I had them to win, but you cannot write off Portugal with an outstanding player like Ronaldo in their team," he stated

Iran are the early group leaders, but Speid expects Spain and Portugal to progress.

"Morocco are out after their loss (to Iran) ... . Iran have three points, but I don't expect them to get any more, and even if they get one more, the two teams (Spain and Portugal) will go through," he said.

Arnett Gardens' Waite also thought Hierro erred with his substitutes.

"The substitutions that the coach made gave Portugal the opportunity to get back," he said

"Portugal got their chances to win, but both teams will be pleased with the result. It was a game between two excellent tactical teams," he added.

Hyde said the changes swung the game into Portugal's favour after Spain came from behind to lead 3-2. He also thought they showed Ronaldo too much respect.

"Spain played better, had more possession, moved the ball around and created some chances. But the changes the coach made impacted the Spanish team psychologically. I believe the changes affected the players. It was not a bad result for the teams. They have Morocco and Iran to play and they can both qualify after the next two games, but they must not underestimate anybody," he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com