Fernando Hierro has hailed a "great generation" of youthful Spain and England talent shining at the World Cup, referencing the likes of Jude Bellingham and Gavi,

Bellingham, 19, and 21-year-old Saka have impressed in Qatar for England as Gareth Southgate's side secured progression to the knockout stage as Group B winners after Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Wales.

Spain are within touching distance of the knockout stage in the Middle East as well, needing to just avoid defeat against Japan on Thursday to qualify, while victory will take them through as Group E winners.

Bellingham has been ever-present and Saka scored twice for England in a 6-2 win against Iran, with Pedri, Gavi and Ferran Torres leading the way for Luis Enrique's side, much to Hierro's delight.

"I am surprised at the number of young kids with enormous talent who are feeling important in a World Cup, who are 19 or 20 years old, and that's incredible," Hierro told Stats Perform.

"It's something that I find hard to think about, that kids are so prepared with just 19 or 20 years in them and that they are playing as if they are 27 years old.

"They are very young players. Bellingham, Saka, Pedri, Gavi and Torres. It's incredible, unbelievable.

"The great generation of young boys. That speaks very well of the grassroots work that England and Spain have."

David Villa, a 2010 World Cup winner with Spain, echoed Hierro's sentiment but insisted Enrique's current crop should not be compared against the La Roja side that won FIFA's top tournament in South Africa.

"It would be a mistake if we compared the team all the time [to the 2010 one]," Villa told Stats Perform at the Adidas house in Doha.

"They are all good players, they are talented players, young players, they are great. They have a great team and if all the time we try to compare to the 2010 side, it is a mistake for me.

"We need to believe in these guys and believe they can do it."

On teenager Gavi, Villa added: "He is 18 years old. It is incredible the way that he has been playing, not just now, but the last year with the national team and with Barcelona at this age.

"So, his future is bright. I don't know what will happen with this player, but he will have an amazing career because at 18 years old, it is very difficult to show the things he is doing."

The likes of Andres Iniesta, Villa and Xavi have made way for Pedri, Gavi and Torres in Spain's youthful and exciting side, but one face remains the same.

Spain captain Sergio Busquets was part of Vicente del Bosque's World Cup-winning side and remains a key cog in Enrique's team – though that comes as no surprise to Villa.

"I think Busquets is the best player playing this position, for me, of all time," Villa continued.

"He showed in this World Cup that he has continued to be important for the national team, he continues to be important for the world of football. But you never know, to still be playing in four years' time is a lot."

While Villa believes Spain "have a chance" to win their second World Cup, the former La Roja striker suggested England are among the favourites for global glory.

"They have great players, they have a strong team," the 40-year-old said. "For me, I’ve said from the beginning, England are one of the favourites to take the trophy because the squad they have is amazing."

Real Madrid great Fernando Hierro said the LaLiga champions should sign both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

In-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe have been linked with moves to Madrid.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos believes it would be easier for Los Blancos to sign Haaland instead of Mbappe due to the financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But former Madrid skipper Hierro – who won five LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies among other honours during his career at the Santiago Bernabeu – wants the club to bring in both forwards.

"If I were Real Madrid, I would sign Haaland and Mbappe," Hierro told Radio Marca.

The future of Madrid superstar Ramos is also dominating headlines, with the 34-year-old Spain defender out of contract at season's end and no closer to extending his deal.

Ramos has been linked with PSG and Manchester United and there appears to be a significant chance of him opting to move elsewhere after 16 trophy-laden seasons in Madrid.

"I would like Sergio Ramos to continue and retire at Real Madrid," Hierro said.

"But not because of the time he has been there, but because of his performances.

"He is showing that he is still the best in the world. When there is will, people understand each other.

"There are times when the economic situation is not the most important thing and you have to assess where you want to be."

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