Spain sack Lopetegui on eve of World Cup

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Lopetegui's dismissal will nearly certainly have an unsettling effect on Spain's preparations for the tournament, but at least one Spaniard seems to have a positive outlook.

"We are in a very complicated situation, but the players and the new coaching staff will do everything in their power to take the team as far as possible".

The country's soccer federation said it had to let Lopetegui go after it was announced he had agreed to become manager of Real Madrid-a top club in Spain-following the World Cup.

Lopetegui was appointed to the role in the wake of Spain's poor showing at Euro 2016 in France when they were eliminated in the last 16, losing 2-0 to Italy.

Earlier, Real Madrid said in a statement: "Real Madrid C.F. announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons".

Criticism of Real Madrid and Lopetegui was spreading as Rubiales flew to Spain's base camp in Krasnodar, Russia. There is a lot to do.

"We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticized, I accept that".

Before news of Hierro's promotion, Rubiales said: "We are going to touch as little as possible".

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Spain qualified for Russian Federation 2018 with relative ease, topping a group containing Italy.

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on Friday in a match live on BBC One (19:00 BST kick-off).

Real Madrid's search for a manager to replace the departed Zinedine Zidane is over.

Lopetegui leaves his managerial post unbeaten.

"It's a nice challenge", Hierro said.

"They realised very quickly that Klopp has got a very close link with Liverpool and couldn't get him out of there, and with Conte they weren't sure he was what was needed for Real Madrid".

One of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain's World Cup hopes are now in disarray and, although Rubiales claimed the decision "will make us stronger", it is hard to see how La Roja can recover from such a blow just two days before their bow at Russian Federation 2018. "There is a way that you must act, Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we can not accept how he has acted in this case". 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.

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