La Roja, not Lopetegui, the Real loser

In terms of a country's preparation for playing the biggest football tournament in the world, Spain's decision to sack coach Julen Lopetegui just 48 hours before they face Portugal will probably not go down as one of the shrewdest moves ever made by a football authority. In terms of making "choices" it does at first glance look to be up there with the time Abraham Lincoln informed his wife he fancied a night at the theatre.

The problem is that there might be some kind of logic, rhyme or reason to the decision if it had anything at all to do directly with football. It hasn't; it's about anger, noses put out of joint and personalities.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'La Roja, not Lopetegui, the Real loser'. Print Edition | Subscribe