Spain sack Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup

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No Spanish journalist or news publication saw it coming, but on Tuesday afternoon, Real announced Lopetegui as their new coach, with the Basque set to take over after Spain's World Cup campaign.

Spanish preparations were thrown into turmoil as Lopetegui lost his job following today's announcement he would leave to take over at Real Madrid after the finals in Russian Federation.

"We feel obliged to take this decision", Rubiales told a news conference at the team base in Krasnodar.

Former goalkeeper Lopetegui spent a season as coach of Real's B-team Castilla from 2008-09 before taking over as Spain Under-19 manager in 2010. We've got a great opportunity and that has to be the focus.

Spain sack Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup
Spain sack Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup

"You can not do these things two to three days before a World Cup".

The players are said to have called on Lopetegui to remain in charge of the national side but Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales held a press conference on Wednesday morning to confirm the departure. "There's a way to act that needs to be fulfilled". We will touch the staff as little as possible, as soon as we have something to communicate, we will do it. We are working on it. "When we know we will tell you", he said.

It's quite stunning news and certainly is a massive distraction for this team. "We have been compelled to make this decision".

"The players will do everything in their reach to win the World Cup".

Spain football association announced technical director Fernando Hierro as the national coach, hours after the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

Spain, one of the pre-tournament favourites, also face Morocco and Iran in their group in Russian Federation.

Hierro, a former Real Madrid captain, refused to criticise his old club for their conduct, and admitted the chance to coach his country was an opportunity too good to turn down.

After short spells at Rayo Vallecano and with Madrid's youth team Real Madrid Castilla, Lopetegui enjoyed a successful time with Spain's under-19s and under-21s.

"All of the Spanish coaches would like in the future to become national team manager".

He said: "I'm very sad but we're hoping that we can win the World Cup". Lopetegui was sacked by Porto the following January after a string of poor results.