Luis Enrique: Spain exit confirmed with Luis de la Fuente appointed


Luis Enrique has split with Spain as the country’s head coach with Luis de la Fuente appointed as his successor following a disastrous World Cup exit.

The Spanish football association confirmed the departure on Thursday after La Furia Roja’s elimination in the round of 16 to Morocco in a 3-0 penalty shootout after a scoreless draw in regular and extra time.

De La Fuente has worked his way up the youth ranks of Spanish football, starting as a European champion with the Under-19 side, while adding a gold medal lat the Mediterranean Games with the Under-18 side.

A European champion in 2019 with the Under-21 side, De La Fuente then added a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Despite the premature exit in Qatar, which Spanish newspapers described as a “disaster”, 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.

Spain got off to a good start in Qatar, routing Costa Rica 7-0, but La Roja couldn’t win again in its last three matches. It drew Germany 1-1 and lost 2-1 to Japan before being held by Morocco.

Luis 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.

AP contributed to this report

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