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Luis Enrique parts ways with Spain team after World Cup exit, Luis de la Fuente takes over as new coach

Spain were beaten on penalties by Morocco after a goalless draw on Tuesday in an upset result after failing to turn their dominance in the game into a victory.

Under Enrique, Spain had reached the semifinal of Euro 2020 and reached the UEFA Nations final four twice.

Coach Luis Enrique has been relieved of his duties after Spain crashed out of the World Cup Round Of 16 against Morocco, the Spanish football federation said on Twitter on Thursday. He was replaced by Luis de la Fuente as the coach.

Spain were beaten on penalties by Morocco after a goalless draw on Tuesday in an upset result after failing to turn their dominance in the game into a victory.
The 52-year-old coach said after the match that he was to blame for the defeat.

Enrique, who was first appointed Spain coach in 2018, had a contract until the end of the year.

“The coach managed to give a new impetus to the national team since his arrival, in 2018, through a profound renovation that has consolidated a generational change in the team and in Spanish football,” a Spanish FA statement read.

The federation thanked Luis Enrique but said it was time to “start a new project” to keep the growth achieved by the coach in recent years.

Enrique took over the national team in 2018 to start revamping the squad after its elimination in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Russia. He temporarily left because of the illness and eventual death of his young daughter, but returned in 2019.

He helped Spain reach the last four of the Nations League twice, including this season and last year, when it lost the final to France.

He also led Spain to the semifinals of the European Championship in 2020, losing to Italy in a penalty shootout.

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The 61-year-old De la Fuente, a former left back with Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao, helped Spain’s under-19 squad win the European Championship in 2015, and the under-21 team win Euro 2019. He also coached Spain’s squad, which won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

De la Fuente had coached the senior national team once, when youth players were used in a friendly against Lithuania because the main squad had to go into isolation because of the coronavirus.

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Other candidates who had been considered besides De la Fuente, who was Spain’s under-21 coach, included former Belgium manager Roberto Martínez and former Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino García Toral.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 17:30 IST
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