Spain coach Julen Lopetegui fired two days before World Cup debut

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The Spanish Football Federation confirmed the sacking of Lopetegui, who is due to take over at Real Madrid next month, on Wednesday, just two days before the team's opening World Cup game against Portugal.

The Spanish Football Federation fired Julen Lopetegui after he took the head-coaching job at Real Madrid without first informing the country's soccer officials.

He was waved off by a number of Spain's coaching team, though three will follow him to Real: Assistant Pablo Sanz, fitness coach Oscar Garro and mental coach Juan Carlos Alvarez Campillo. (We were told) just five minutes before the press release.

It's quite stunning news and certainly is a massive distraction for this team.

Rubiales said: "The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards". Just look at Barcelona and Real Madrid who leave their mark on the national team.

Members of the Spain squad, led by Los Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos, eventually failed in their bid to keep the coach in his role and it was announced shortly after that Lopetegui will indeed leave his current position with immediate effect. If it had been up to Julen it wouldn't have happened in this way and I wouldn't have found out five minutes beforehand. We are working on it.

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"We are perfectly prepared and that is the most important thing".

Spain begin their campaign to regain the trophy from holders Germany on Friday evening, when they take on Portugal, with Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia set to open the tournament on Thursday afternoon.

De Gea has always been linked with a move to Real Madrid and he was on the verge of completing a transfer to the Bernabeu in September 2015, before the deal fell through at the final hour.

Frenchman Zinedine Zidane stepped down two weeks ago, days after leading Real to a third consecutive Champions League title.

Read all of Business Insider's World Cup coverage here. Fernando Hierro, Spain's sporting director, will step in as manager at the eleventh hour.

"It is true that there is very little time to prepare, but the moment is here and we are clear about what we want to achieve", he said.