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14th Jun 2018

Gary Neville offers blunt response to Spain’s decision to sack their manager before the World Cup

"Maybe he knew he wouldn't get away with it"

Robert Redmond

“Maybe he knew he wouldn’t get away with it”

The 2018 World Cup kicked off on Thursday with Russia’s tie against Saudi Arabia, but that game had a lot to do to match the drama that unfolded in the Spanish camp before a ball was even kicked.

On Tuesday, Julen Lopetegui was announced as the new Real Madrid manager on a three-year contract. The Spain national team manager would replace Zinedine Zidane when the World Cup was over, but had unfortunately opted not to inform his employers. The Spanish football federation found out about the appointment a few minutes before the public announcement and their recently appointed president was furious.

Luis Rubiales, the new head honcho of the Spanish FA, flew from Moscow to Spain’s base in Sochi on Wednesday and sacked Lopetegui. Fernando Hierro, former Madrid and Spain defender, has replaced him. Spain’s preparations for their opening game against Portugal on Friday could not have gone any worse.

Gary Neville, appearing on ITV’s coverage of the World Cup’s opening game, has backed the decision to sack Lopetegui, saying it was the right choice to make. The former Manchester United defender also said it was good to see national teams stand up to the more powerful clubs.

You can watch the clip here: