World Cup contender Spain fires coach two days before opening match

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Local media reports suggest the majority of the squad were fiercely opposed to RFEF president Luis Rubiales's decision to dismiss Lopetegui for agreeing to become Real Madrid's new manager after the World Cup without permission.

"The negotiations [between Lopetegui and Real Madrid] have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release". I'm sure this will, over time, make us stronger. One was to say no, one was to leave, the third was to be present, to take a step forward for the Spanish FA and Spanish football'. We have been forced to make this decision.

"We have to work on a series of decisions that come two days before the beginning of Russian Federation 2018".

"There's a lot to do". Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup, after creating a Spanish storm when he signed "in secret" with Real Madrid. Lopetegui had on May 22 renewed his contract as Spain coach until 2020.

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The Spanish giants announced that the current Spanish national team boss Julen Lopetegui will take up the role at the Bernabeu after his commitment with them ends after this summer's World Cup in 2018.

Spain plays its first group stage game on Friday against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. "If not, the national team won't happen", he admitted.

And it comes just three days before the 2010 World Cup winners begin their campaign in Russian Federation, as they face Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

With at least six of the expected starting XI for the Portugal game to come from Madrid and Barca, Hierro, himself a former Real captain, must ensure club loyalties do not further undermine Spain's chances, with divisions already appearing between the players and the federation.

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France Football: A surprise for everyone, Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as the manager of Spain two days before Spain start the World Cup. He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.

Rubiales refused to comment on Lopetegui's possible replacement but did stress they would endeavour to affect the squad "as little as possible".

"What you get...will have to do with the work you've developed", said Spanish football chief Rubiales at the press conference.

Rubiales took over a federation which was in the hands of embattled official Angel Maria Villar for almost three decades.

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