Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Spain fired its coach two days before first World Cup game

Andre Villas-Boas Real Madrid announce Lopetegui as new manager
Cary Erickson | 14 June, 2018, 07:26

Spain's first game at the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup is against neighbours Portugal on Friday.

On being questioned regarding who will be stepping up to take the reigns as the Spain coach in the World Cup, Rubiales said, "We are going to touch as little as possible".

But the last 24 hours have been a total disaster for the Spanish national team and time will tell whether Rubiales will be vindicated.

Television and radio commentator Manolo Lama, summing up the state of bewilderment caused by the decision, said the team's success will rely exclusively on the players.

Part of his success was blending in younger talents like Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, Marco Asensio and Rodrigo Moreno into a squad led by veterans Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and David Silva. "Only they can put out this fire".

"There are somethings more important than the sporting side of things, such as values and how things are done".

Rubiales does not fear a backlash from players and believes they are still committed to the World Cup.

"We didn't argue, but I made him see how things were".

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The World Cup will kick off in Russian Federation on Thursday and bring the "greatest show on earth" to the Kremlin's doorstep.

The Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales confirmed the sacking at a press conference in the Russian city of Krasnodar, where the team are based, on Wednesday. "We have been compelled to act".

A star midfielder for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, he has also coached Roma, Celta Vigo and returned to the Nou Camp as head coach.

"We are the national team. I was present at his farewell and we had a friendly conversation". "The responsibility and the commitment are with you and for you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, together".

The former Porto boss signed a three-year deal with Los Blancos, with the intention of taking over once this month's tournament was completed.

In 20 games, Lopetegui managed 14 victories and six draws, with 61 goals scored and 13 conceded - giving them the best record of any of the 24 teams in Russian Federation this summer over the last two years. Rumors began to fly that Lopetegui's job was in danger.

Lopetegui was Vicente del Bosque successor for Spain following the team's failure to successfully defend its title at the 2016 European Championship.

During a press conference, it was announced by Spain President Luis Rubiales that Lopetegui would not be taking charge of the side in Russian Federation.