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Sports

AFP
June 14, 2018

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Spain sack coach Lopetegui

aKRASNODAR, Russia: Spain dramatically sacked coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday — just two days before the team’s opening game against Portugal at the World Cup.

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In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Real Madrid named Lopetegui as their next manager to start work after the tournament in Russia, sparking outrage among the federation and Spanish fans at the timing of the announcement.

At a severely delayed press conference at Spain’s World Cup base in Krasnodar, Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales said he felt Lopetegui’s decision to join Madrid so close to the start of the tournament “obliged” him to take drastic action.

“I am here to say that we feel obliged to sack the national team manager,” said Rubiales.

Lopetegui had signed a contract extension until 2020 just last month and Rubiales is reportedly angry at only being informed of his decision to join Real minutes before the European champions made the announcement public.

“I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee that the new technical team will do everything they can. We are left in a very difficult situation,” he said.

No decision has yet been made over who will take charge, with Spain due to face European champions Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

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