Spain fires coach Julen Lopetegui two days before World Cup opener

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Luis Rubiales, announced on Wednesday that coach Julen Lopetegui has been sacked, just two days before La Roja's Russian Federation 2018 debut.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales said the governing body had no choice, after being informed of Lopetegui's decision to become Real Madrid boss after the tournament only five minutes before that move was announced.

Spain take on Portugal in Sochi on Friday before facing Iran and Morocco in their other Group B games.

Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, revealed the decision soon after Lopetegui was announced as new coach of Champions League winners Real Madrid.

"We have been forced to dispense with the coach, remembering all the good things he has given us", Rubiales told reporters. "We wish him the greatest of luck".

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A poor 2015 Copa America campaign saw them exit at the quarter-final stage after a defeat on penalties against Paraguay. But only when a middling playing career was cut short by injury, at the age of 27, did he find his true calling.

"The federation can not be left out of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed five minutes before the press release", Rubiales said.

"He will join the club after the participation of the Spanish team in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team".

Lopetegui had led the national side on a 20-game unbeaten run since he took over after the 2016 European Championships, and they had every chance of winning the World Cup in Russian Federation. We've watched the videos for the next game and we need to use our brains, be coherent and, anyway, between now and Portugal there's not much room for change. "The federation has its values and it has to maintain them", Rubiales said.

"They players have received him with pleasure and they have told me that they'll be with him to the death".

Lopetegui, unbeaten in 20 games as coach, winning 14 and drawing six, was sacked after being named as Real Madrid coach on Tuesday. "It wasn't an easy situation but I think he did the right thing".

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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.

"We can not alter two years of hard work in the coming days".

Sergio Ramos was the first Spain player to speak up.

Spain have sacked manager Julen Lopetegui just one day before the start of the 2018 World Cup.

Hierro, a stylish goal-scoring defender who won 89 caps for Spain, spent most of illustrious playing career at Real Madrid, helping them win five Primera Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and three Uefa Champions League titles.

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