Spain sack coach Enrique after World Cup exit, appoint replacement
The Spanish football association appoints under-21s coach Luis de la Fuente as the new team boss replacing Luis Enrique following Spain's exit from the 2022 World Cup.
Spain sacked coach Luis Enrique on Thursday after the 2010 champions exited the World Cup after losing to Morocco at the last-16 stage, quickly naming his replacement as under-21s boss Luis de la Fuente.
Spain started their campaign in Qatar in style by beating Costa Rica 7-0 and qualified for the knockout phase despite a 2-1 defeat to Japan.
"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision," the Spanish football association, RFEF, said in a statement.
Time for structural changes in the RFEF after the premature elimination of Spain in the World Cup in Qatar at the hands of Morocco in the round of 16. Hours after announcing that Luis Enrique will not continue as coach and that he will be replaced by Luis de la Fuente.— The Football Index 🎙 ⚽ (@TheFootballInd) December 8, 2022
The federation announced that De la Fuente, who led Spain's men's team to the silver medal at last year's Olympics, was the new man for the position.
Luis Enrique, cesado.— Todo Encuestas (@Encuestando) December 8, 2022
Luis de la Fuente, nuevo seleccionador nacional.
📊 ¿Te gusta este cambio de entrenador en España?
♥️ NO pic.twitter.com/3pi82aWOhq
On Instagram, Enrique expressed his gratitude to the RFEF for the opportunity he had been given in a farewell message.
"What the national team needs is support, in all senses, so that Luis de la Fuente can achieve what he wants," he wrote, also thanking the players, staff, and fans.
Gracias por todo. pic.twitter.com/VYw094aAQ3— LUISENRIQUE (@LUISENRIQUE21) December 8, 2022
"(To) the players, who have been exemplary in their behaviour and faithful to the idea put before them, I am sorry not to have been able to help you more," he added.
Spain last lifted a major trophy a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they have not won a single knockout game at the Word Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010.
Luis Enrique took over in 2018 after Spain's disappointing performance at the World Cup in Russia and led the team to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.
The RFEF announced De la Fuente as Enrique's replacement and his appointment will be ratified next week by the federation's board of directors.
"The new coach will make his debut in March for Euro 2024 qualifiers, taking charge of his first games against Norway and Scotland," the RFEF noted in a statement.
De la Fuente will be officially presented on Monday as the new coach.