Spain are expected to appoint a new head coach within the next 48 hours as Luis Enrique prepares to step down from his position. The 52-year-old tactician saw his side ruthlessly dumped out of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday following a heartbreaking last 16 penalty-shootout defeat to Morocco in Doha after 120 cagey minutes of pulsating action.
But ultimately, Spain’s disappointing campaign in Qatar will be considered a failure especially after they turned on the style by winning their opening group match 7-0 against Costa Rica.
At the time, La Roja were being tipped as among the favourites following the incredible showing that demonstrated their exceptional technical quality and fluidity in attack. That now seems like a distant memory after they failed to score against Morocco, who are now worthy quarter-finalists.
The one-sided thrashing would prove to be Spain’s only win of the tournament after a draw with Germany and later losing 2-1 to Japan in Group E – a result that saw them qualify in second place.
Now Spanish outlet El Larguero are reporting that Enrique is set to resign from his position having previously guided La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020.
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Sarabia rattled the post before Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou kept Soler and Busquets’ penalties out with two fine saves.
Enrique has since revealed that he told his players to practise over 1000 penalties before arriving in Qatar for the World Cup but the pressure proved too much on the biggest stage of all.
He told reporters: “I imagine that they have done their homework. Over a year ago, in one of the Spain camps, I told them they had to get here with at least 1,000 penalties taken. If you wait until getting here to practise penalties… [it won’t be enough].
“It’s a moment of maximum tension, a time to show your nerve and that you can shoot the penalty in the way you have decided, if you have trained it a thousand times. It says a lot about each player.
“It’s trainable, manageable, how you manage the tension. It’s increasingly less luck – the goalkeepers have more influence.
“We have a very good goalkeeper, any of the three can do very well in this situation. Every time we finish training, I see a lot of players taking penalties.”
Enrique was first appointed head coach of Spain in July 2018 before he stood down due to personal reasons one year later before eventually rejoining the La Roja set-up four months later in November 2019.
Spain’s conquerors Morocco will face Portugal in the quarter-finals on Saturday for a place in the last four.