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Spanish coach Lopetegui dismissed two days before World Cup opening match

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former head coach of the Spain men’s national football team Julen Lopetegui shouts during a friendly match between Spain and Tunisia in Krasnodar, Russia, on June 9, 2018. (Photo by AP)

Head coach of the Spain men’s national football team Julen Lopetegui has been sacked, only two days before his squad, nicknamed La Furia Roja, was to open its 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup campaign against Portugal.

President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) Luis Manuel Rubiales Béjar made the announcement during a news conference in Madrid on Wednesday.

Rubiales noted that Lopetegui's replacement would be announced “soon.”

“We want to thank Julen for all he's done and he's a big reason behind us being in Russia, but we feel obliged to dispense with his services,” he added.

“There has to be a message to all RFEF employees and there are ways of behaving that you need to abide by,” Rubiales pointed out.

Lopetegui's dismissal came only a day after professional Spanish football club Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly known as Real Madrid or simply as Real, unexpectedly stated that Lopetegui would join the club as their coach next season.

During the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony at Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital city of Moscow on December 1 last year, La Furia Roja joined the Iran men’s national football team, nicknamed Team Melli, A Selecção of Portugal and Morocco’s Atlas Lions in the preliminary round of the tournament.

The host nation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay form Group A in the upcoming quadrennial international sports event.

France is drawn in Group C, and is pitted against Australia, Peru and Denmark.

Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are drawn in Group D.

Group E consists of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

While the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea shape Group F, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England are in Group G.

Group H has Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15. Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia in a Group A fixture at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.

Iran will start its World Cup campaign against Morocco at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 15.

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