Spain sack coach Luis Enrique after Morocco World Cup defeat

La Roja were beaten on penalties in Round of 16 and federation want to 'start a new project' with under-21 coach Jose Luis de la Fuente appointed

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Coach Luis Enrique has been fired after Spain's defeat against Morocco in the World Cup Round of 16, the Spanish football federation announced on Thursday.

Spain were beaten on penalties after a goalless draw on Tuesday in an upset result after failing to turn their dominance into a victory.

The 52-year-old coach said after the match that he was to blame for the defeat.

Enrique, who was first appointed Spain coach in 2018, had a contract until the end of the year but it will not be renewed. He has been replaced by Spain's under-21 coach Jose Luis de la Fuente.

The federation thanked Enrique but said it was time to “start a new project”.

"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision," the Spanish FA said in a statement.

"The sporting direction of the RFEF has given the president a report, in which it was determined that a new project should start for the national team, with the objective of continuing the growth achieved in the last few years thanks to Luis Enrique and his colleagues," added the RFEF.

Spain last lifted a major trophy a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they have not won a single knockout game at the World Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010.

Enrique took over in 2018 after Spain's disappointing Russia World Cup showing, and led La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.

Spain got off to a good start in Qatar, routing Costa Rica 7-0, but La Roja couldn't win again in their last three matches, drawing 1-1 with Germany and losing 2-1 to Japan before being held by Morocco.

Updated: December 08, 2022, 1:08 PM