Former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui

FIFA World Cup preview: Spain

On the eve of the FIFA World Cup, Spain's preparation has been thrown into disarray.
Coach Julen Lopetegui has been controversially sacked just two days before Spain takes on rivals Portugal.
Former Spain defender Fernando Hierro has been announced as Lopetegui's replacement. The decision was made after Lopetegui signed on to coach Real Madrid next season.
It was not his decision, but the fact that he kept the Spanish Soccer Federation (SSF) out of the loop that cost him his national post.
"The federation cannot be left out of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed five minutes before the press release," SSF president Luis Rubiales said.
How does this impact Spain? It is not great news heading into the biggest tournament in world football.
Spain have an incredible roster, but this announcement has the potential to relegate them to second in their group. 

The draw for Spain

Portugal, June 16
Iran, June 21
Morocco, June 26

The star player

Sergio Ramos is the captain at Real Madrid and was reportedly agitating for Lopetegui to stay as Spain coach.
And that suggests there could be internal rifts in the playing roster. Consequently there are issues that need to be sorted out immediately or Spain are in real trouble.
How divided this roster is could have devastating consequences. Ramos will need to put his club thoughts aside and play for his nation here.

What needs to go right

Spain is well drilled and well prepared on the technical front. They have the players in every position to seriously challenge for the World Cup.
This major disruption will tug at the thread of all that, though, and threatens to unravel it all.
New coach Hierro has a heck of a job on his hands uniting this group.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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