Spain sacked coach Luis Enrique after the 2010 champions were dumped out of the World Cup by Morocco at the last-16 stage.
Spain has sacked coach Luis Enrique on Thursday after the 2010 champions were defeated by Morocco in the World Cup last-16 stage.
Spain started the tournament in Qatar by hammering Costa Rica 7-0 and qualified for the knockout phase despite a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan.
They were strong favourites to win their last-16 match against Morocco but crashed out on penalties after the game finished goalless following extra-time.
“Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision,” the RFEF (football association) said in a statement.
The federation announced Enrique’s replacement was under-21s coach Luis de la Fuente, who led Spain’s men’s team to the silver medal at last year’s Olympics.
Luis Enrique expressed his gratitude to the RFEF for the opportunity he had been given in a farewell message on Instagram.
“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.
“(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.”
Enrique’s sacking came after the nation’s media questioned his future following a shock World Cup defeat against Morocco.
Spain dominated their North African opponents on Tuesday but were unable to find a crucial breakthrough and were left ruing their wastefulness when they missed all three of their penalties to hand Morocco a place in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
Spanish media labelled the defeat a “fiasco” for the national team and described Luis Enrique’s worth as “going from much to nothing” in the space of one shootout, branding the penalties “disastrous”.
Before Tuesday’s game, Morocco’s best result at the football World Cup had been in 1986, when they reached the last 16.
Morocco is now the last remaining team from Africa and the only Arab team left in Qatar. They will face either Portugal in a quarterfinal on Saturday.