Spain drift for World Cup glory after sacking Lopetegui

Spain are now fourth favourites to win the 2018 World Cup after shock dismissal of Julen Lopetegui on eve of tournament

Spain backers drew a sharp intake of breath on Wednesday morning after it emerged that Julen Lopetegui would not be leading the national side into the 2018 World Cup.

Despite the Spaniard helping La Roja qualify for Russia, selecting the 23-man squad for the tournament and getting everything prepared, it will now fall to Fernando Hierro to take charge.

Lopetegui was sacked after it emerged that he would be taking charge of Real Madrid after the World Cup, something that can now happen with immediate effect, with Spain potential casualties and the bookmakers have taken a dim view of matters.

Bet365 quickly lengthened Spain to 13/2 from 6/1 to win the World Cup, while BetVictor went a step further and they quote 7/1 about La Roja winning this tournament for the second time.

Spain have also drifted to beat Portugal, with bet365 going 11/10 about a win for the former on Friday evening, with Fernando Santos’ team likely to be buoyed by the prospect of disharmony within the Spanish camp.

Perhaps the squad will be brought together by the shock departure of Lopetegui, although there could be factions developing and the absence of the man who led them to the World Cup must surely count as a negative.