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Spain football team coach Julen Lopetegui extends contract to 2020

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has extended his contract until 2020 in a pre-FIFA World Cup boost for one of the favourites.

football Updated: May 22, 2018 18:50 IST
AFP, Madrid
Spain football team,Julen Lopetegui,Spain football team coach
Julen Lopetegui has signed a new contract that will run until 2020, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.(AFP)

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has extended his contract until 2020 in a pre-World Cup boost for one of the tournament favourites. “We are going to sign a contract for two additional years,” said the president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) Luis Rubiales.

It is a clear sign of confidence from the Spanish federation in the 51-year-old former goalkeeper as he goes into his first major tournament in charge of the side.

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“It was very simple because we have immense admiration and respect for Julen and all his team,” added Rubiales.

“He is the best person to lead the national team.” The new deal takes Lopetegui through to the next European Championships, which will be held across the continent in 2020. The contract renewal comes a day after Lopetegui announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Lopetegui was appointed to the role in the wake of Spain’s poor showing at Euro 2016 in France, when they were eliminated in the last 16.

He succeeded Vicente del Bosque, who had overseen Spain’s triumphs at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but had also been in charge for the disappointing group stage exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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La Roja cruised through qualifying for this year’s World Cup in Russia, with nine wins and a draw in 10 games, scoring 36 goals and conceding three.

Indeed, Spain are still unbeaten under the Basque after 18 matches including friendlies. Spain will face Portugal, Iran and Morocco in Group B at the World Cup, beginning their campaign against their Iberian neighbours in Sochi on June 15.

Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata was a notable omission from the squad named on Monday.

First Published: May 22, 2018 18:50 IST