World Cup: Spain coach fired days before the World Cup

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was fired on Wednesday night, just days before the World Cup kicks off.

Spain’s World Cup preparations were rocked after the shock sacking of Real Madrid’s new manager, Julien Lopetegui, three days before their opening match against Portugal.

Lopetegui signed a two-year contract with Real Madrid last month, taking over from Zinedine Zidane who lead his team to three consecutive Champion League titles.

Former Spanish defender Fernando Hierro, Lopetegui’s replacement, has minimal managerial experience, with only 43 games managing second division Real Oviedo. He does have experience working as an assistant manager, working at Real Madrid for the 2014/15 season under Carlo Ancelotti.

The 50-year-old will have less than 72 hours to prepare his side for their opening match against bitter enemies Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

Many fans and commentators leapt onto social media after the announcement, with some agreeing that the coach had to go. Others believe the fresh chaos on the eve of the World Cup made a bad situation worse.

Caught by surprise at Real Madrid’s announcement, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, believes Lopetegui’s firing was not the best solution for the national team.

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

“We have been compelled to act.”

Rubiales, who took over from former president Juan Luis Larrea, said the federation’s values were broken and it was the only decision he could make.

“It’s a difficult situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken,” he said.

All eyes will be on Spain as they square off against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo at 4:00 am on SBS and Optus Sports.- Kamilia Hanna

Feature image Flikr of Julen Lopetegui