Lopetegui was axed in stunning fashion 24 hours after agreeing to take over at Real Madrid
Spain have named Under 21 boss Albert Celades as Julen Lopetegui’s replacement following the new Real Madrid boss’ sacking.
Lopetegui was sensationally axed on Wednesday just 24 hours after it was announced he would take over at the Bernabeu following the World Cup.
Celades will be in the dugout on Friday when Spain open their Group B campaign against Portugal and will be assisted by Fernando Hierro.
The 42-year-old played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid before finishing his career with Kitchee in Hong Kong.
He won four caps for Spain before managing first the Under 16 side before taking over the Under 21s.
On Wednesday, Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by well over an hour before Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales announced the decision.
He said: “We have been forced to dispense with the national coach.”
Rubiales added: “We wish him the best of luck.”Suggestions first emerged early on Wednesday that Rubiales was not happy with the situation and would remove Lopetegui just two days before Spain’s Group B opener. Addressing the media in Russia, Rubiales revealed he had only been told of Real’s decision five minutes before they announced Lopetegui’s appointment.
“The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information,” Rubiales said. “(We were told) just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to. “The Spain team is the team of all Spaniards. You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been obliged to make this decision.”