De la Fuente replaces Luis Enrique as Spain manager
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Rob Ellis
LiveScore
Luis de la Fuente has been appointed as Spain's new head coach
Luis de la Fuente has been appointed as Spain's new head coach

Luis de la Fuente has succeeded Luis Enrique as Spain manager.

La Roja exited the World Cup on Tuesday after a shock penalty shootout defeat to Morocco in Qatar.

The 2010 champions failed to convert any of their spot-kicks following a goalless 120 minutes of action.

The surprise result was preceded by a rollercoaster Group E campaign, with a 7-0 victory over Costa Rica, a 1-1 draw with Germany and a 2-1 defeat to Japan leaving them as runners-up. 

And their failure to go beyond the round of 16 was not good enough in the eyes of the Spanish football authorities. 

A statement from the Royal Football Federation said: "The RFEF would like to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff at the helm of the national team in recent years.

"The sports management of the RFEF has transferred to the president a report in which it is determined that a new project should start for the Spanish soccer team.

"The aim is to continue with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work carried out by Luis Enrique and his collaborators.

"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sports director, Jose Francisco Molina, have transmitted the decision to the coach.

"The RFEF has chosen Luis de la Fuente as the new national coach."

De la Fuente's first match in charge will be next March, when Spain begin their Euro 2024 qualifying fixtures with games against Norway and Scotland.

A new era

Luis de la Fuente coached Spain to victory in a friendly against Lithuania in June 2021
Luis de la Fuente coached Spain to victory in a friendly against Lithuania in June 2021

De la Fuente, 61, has been promoted from his previous role as Under-21s boss, guiding the young side to European Championship glory in 2019.

He also led Spain to a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, losing in extra-time to Brazil.

The former Athletic Bilbao left-back took charge of the senior side for a Euro 2020 warm-up friendly against Lithuania in June 2021 when Luis Enrique was isolating due to coronavirus protocols.

As a player, he twice won LaLiga with Athletic along with the Copa del Rey in 1984.

Spain's penalty pain

Luis Enrique failed to help Spain progress past the World Cup last-16 stage
Luis Enrique failed to help Spain progress past the World Cup last-16 stage

RFEF's decision brings to an end Luis Enrique's tenure after a promising but altogether disappointing time in charge of his country.

The 52-year-old first took the role in July 2018 but stepped down the following July due to personal reasons.

He returned to the helm in November 2019 and oversaw Spain's run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, where they also succumbed to a penalty shootout loss, to eventual champions Italy.

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder won 62 caps for his nation between 1991 and 2002.

After spells in the Roma and Celta Vigo dugout, he returned to the Camp Nou in May 2014 going on to win nine trophies, including a treble in his first campaign in Catalonia.

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