On the eve of the World Cup opening game and two days before their first game against Portugal, Spain sacked their head coach Julen Lopetegui after accepting the post of Real Madrid managerial position.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation otherwise known as RFEF made the decision after Lopetegui provided no information to the RFEF about his Real Madrid contract.

Real Madrid is searching for a replacement after the shock exit of Zinedine Zidane after winning his 3rd Champions League. 

On the other hand, in the past, there has been international managers who made decisions to leave their role just before a major tournament like the Italian manager Antonio Conte agreed to coach Chelsea before the 2016 Euros.

Since his arrival, Spain went unbeaten with 14 out of 20 wins but he had not coached Spain on a competitive level.

The RFEF president Luis Rubiales explained no matter what decision they made it will gain criticism. “I know it’s a very difficult situation. I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do,”

Rubiales explained this is not personal, but it is better for the long term; “I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems like a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.”

His reasoning is understable because if the RFEF let this slide then this could be the norm; “You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.”

However, this could have a major impact on the Spanish gameplay but Spain is still amongst the favourites to win the tournament after they failed to progress from the 2014 World Cup group stages and lost to Italy 2-0 in the round of 16 of the 2016 Euros.   

Another development that has taken place is a joint bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico who won the 2026 World Cup bid ahead of Morocco which will be the first time the tournament will have 48 instead of the 24 teams.


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