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The Spanish FA have made the bizarre decision to sack coach Julen Lopetegui with barely 30 hours to go before the World Cup starts.
Lopetegui was recently announced as Zinedine Zidane’s successor as Real Madrid coach, a decision that compelled the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to show him the door.
“I know it’s a very difficult situation. I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales said.
Rubiales claimed Lopetegui’s negotiation with Madrid occurred without any knowledge of the RFEF.
“I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.
“You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.”
Spain’s opening World Cup match against Iberian rivals Portugal will take place on Saturday morning at 4am (AEST), giving the side just over 48 hours to find a coach before kick-off.
Lopetegui had been in charge of La Roja for the past two years, taking the head coach’s role in July 2016. A replacement has not yet been named.