Luis Enrique leaves Spain as coach after the defeat in the round of 16 of the World Cup against Morocco, replaced by Luis de la Fuente
Luis Enrique resigned as Spain’s coach after his surprise early exit at the 2022 World Cup.
Spain crashed out on penalties to Morocco in the round of 16 on Tuesday after failing to break their resilient opponents in a cautious goalless draw.
Enrique claimed his team had taken 1,000 penalties before the tournament, but failed to convert a single one by missing out on the quarter-final in Qatar.
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Spain also lost to Japan when they finished second in Group E, and were briefly looking at an even earlier exit when Costa Rica took a surprising lead in their final group game before Germany responded.
Spain’s soccer federation, the RFEF, said a “new project” will start soon.
“The RFEF wants to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff who have led the team in recent years,” read a statement.
The Spaniards produced the biggest statement in the first round of matches with a 7-0 win over Costa Rica, followed by a 1-1 draw with Germany that put them on course to top the group.
But the shock 2-1 loss to Japan pushed them into a knockout tie with Morocco, who had conceded just one goal, an own goal, in their first three matches.
Morocco thwarted their most beloved opponents to force a penalty shootout, with Achraf Hakimi cutting a brave penalty down the middle to win the match for the North Africans and send Spain home.
Enrique took over as Spain coach in July 2018 after the World Cup in Russia, left the following June amid “personal problems” and then returned in November 2019.
He guided them to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, also losing on penalties to eventual champions Italy.
Spain has replaced Enrique with the Spain Under-21 coach, Luis de la Fuente.
In a statement, the RFEF wrote: “The RFEF has chosen Luis de la Fuente as the new senior national coach.”
De le Fuente has been part of the national technical team for nine years. He first took charge of the Under-19 team in 2013.
He became the Under-21 coach in 2018 and won the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2019 after beating Germany 2-1 in the final.
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