The World Cup is certainly shaping up to be quite the spectacle this year. But what more can you expect of a beloved tournament that only comes around once every four years?
In fact, before it’d even started, this year was set to be quite a controversial extravaganza given that it is being hosted by Russia, a country synonymous with scandal – especially under the ‘rule’ of the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.
Since bidding began for the 2018 World Cup in 2009, there have been many allegations of bribery and corruption against Russia and FIFA. Yet, this hasn’t stopped play, with the 21st tournament kicking off (quite literally) with a bang on June 14, when Russia played Saudi Arabia (and won by a 5-0).
But whilst things may have started surprisingly smoothly, there is still a great deal of disruption occurring within many of the 32 national teams who qualified for the sensational tournament.
It’s natural to assume that each and every squad would have a well thought out game plan, given that this is the World Cup and not just a friendly match played in their home stadium. However, this is no ordinary tournament.
That has been epically proven by Spain, who have just sacked their head coach, Julen Lopetegui.
Who is on the Spanish squad? Let’s take a look at all the players chosen for the World Cup…
With just h0urs to go before their opening match against Portugal – which is set to be one of the most interesting games of the tournament – it is safe to say that the decision made just two days ago seems rather rash.
Spain will play Portugal at 9pm Moscow time at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, which has a 40,000 person capacity.
Presently, the odds are in favor of Spain to beat Portugal – regardless of the fact that Portugal have Christiano Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time.
Although, those odds could now be in jeopardy after Lopetegui’s dismissal.
Watch Lopetegui’s emotional statement after being sacked by Spain…
Lopetegui was cut loose after he was announced as the new Real Madrid boss on Tuesday.
This move angered the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) who stated that their decision to dismiss the 51-year-old coach came because his new position as Real Madrid’s boss had occurred “without any information to the RFEF.”
“I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do,” said RFEF’s president, Luis Rubiales, who said he faced “a very difficult situation” whilst deciding the fate of Lopetegui.
“I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision. You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.”
Many senior players of the Spanish national team have condemned the decision, having fought hard for Lopetegui to remain as manager of the team throughout the duration of the World Cup.
Meet his replacement…
Lopetegui will now be succeeded by Spain’s sporting director, Fernando Hierro. The 50-year-old former footballer won three UEFA Champions League trophies during his 15 years playing for Real Madrid between 1989 and 2003.
It’s certainly a messy situation, which is even more reason to watch tonight’s game between Spain and Portugal!