Spain Sack Lopetegui After he Accepts the Real Madrid Job
Spain’s World Cup plans have been potentially derailed ahead of the tournament with the news that head coach Julen Lopetegui has been sacked just 24 hours before the competition gets underway. The 51-year old, who remained unbeaten during his tenure has left La Roja, has been removed from his post with immediate effect and will not lead the 2010 winners in Russia.
Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has acted swiftly and decisively and was believed to have been extremely unhappy with Lopetegui accepting the Real Madrid job. The Spanish FA are believed to be angry that he didn’t reveal his plans to take over at the Champions League winners this summer until the last minute. He was officially announced as the successor to Zinedine Zidane on June 12th as his side were busy preparing for their Group B opener with Portugal. Rubiales told the press that he was ‘unable to accept the way Lopetegui handled the situation’.
A number of senior players, including defender Sergio Ramos, were believed to be in favour of Lopetegui remaining in charge but, despite this, Rubiales had already made up his mind.
They will be led by sporting director Fernando Hierro who will be aiming to guide Spain to their second World Cup success. As a result of Lopetegui’s exit, they have drifted in the outright market and are now available at 13/2 with William Hill to lift the trophy on July 15th.
They begin with a tough game against neighbours Portugal on June 15th and will be hoping to get off to a positive start. 10Bet make them the 21/20 favourites for this Group B encounter. The draw is available at 11/5.
Who Will Score Spain’s Goals in Russia?
Lopetegui was believed to be a fan of employing a false number nine and his favoured system was set to revolve around the midfielders getting forward. It remains to be seen if Hierro continues to deploy similar tactics throughout the tournament. Diego Costa is always likely to heavily involved but questions remain over his temperament. Bet365 make him 5/2 to finish as Spain’s top goalscorer whilst Isco and David Silva are priced at 5/1 and 6/1 respectively. Iago Aspas and Rodrigo could be lively outsiders in this market and they both arrive at the competition in excellent form. They can both be backed at 6/1.