Lopetegui sacked by Spain on eve of World Cup

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Julen Lopetegui has sensationally been sacked as head coach of Spain, just two days before their opening match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The decision, made by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales, was made formal during a press conference late on Wednesday (AEST).

Lopetegui's dismissal comes less than 24 hours after Real Madrid announced the 51-year-old would succeed Zinedine Zidane after the World Cup.

"We have felt obliged to dismiss the coach. We cannot have an employee negotiating a contract with another team and only find out about it five minutes before the announcement," RFEF president Luis Rubiales said.

"We have to remember all the good things he has done to get us here. But there are certain rules to follow and they have not been followed and we felt we had no choice."

Rubiales was asked who would replace Lopetegui and said: "We are going to disrupt things as little as possible and we are working on that (his replacement)."

Spain face Portugal in their Group B opening clash on Saturday morning (AEST) - Watch the match LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS from 3:30am.

Source SBS The World Game, AAP