World Cup 2022: Spain boss Luis Enrique leaves role after last-16 exit
Luis Enrique has left his role as Spain boss after they were knocked out of the World Cup by Morocco in the last 16.
The 52-year-old took charge in 2018 and guided Spain to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, where they lost to Italy.
“We would like to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff,” said the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Spain Under-21s coach Luis de la Fuente has been recommended for the role, but his appointment must be approved by the board, which meets on Monday.
Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening group match in Qatar, but their possession-based game led to them being accused of playing “boring” football as they drew 1-1 with Germany and lost 2-1 to Japan.
They were then knocked out of the tournament on penalties by Morocco, after a goalless 120 minutes.
Gracias por todo. pic.twitter.com/VYw094aAQ3
— LUISENRIQUE (@LUISENRIQUE21) December 8, 2022
Spain drew plaudits for their style and established themselves as the world’s leading nation under Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque in their era of domination between 2008 and 2012, during which they won two successive European Championships either side of their first World Cup.
But they have not won a major trophy since being crowned European champions in 2012. And they have not progressed past the last 16 at the World Cup since their triumph in 2010.
Luis Enrique’s most successful period as manager at club level came with Barcelona. Between 2014 and 2017 he won the Champions League and guided them to two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, the Super Cup, the Club World Cup and Spanish Super Cup.
He took over as manager of Spain in the wake of their chaotic 2018 World Cup campaign, succeeding Fernando Hierro who had stepped in two days before the tournament because Julen Lopetegui was sacked for announcing he was taking over at Real Madrid after the tournament.
Former Spain midfielder Luis Enrique stepped away from his role for a short period in 2019 because his late daughter had been diagnosed with bone cancer, before returning for the side’s run to the last four of the delayed Euro 2020.
De la Fuente has been part of the Spanish set-up since 2013 and has coached their youth teams.
He led Spain to a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Guillem Balague, Spanish football expert
At the World Cup, Spain didn’t shoot outside the box. They were not good at set-pieces. They were not physically strong. They did not have enough pace to their football. They did not put crosses in because they did not have anyone to finish them.
There were limits to what they could do. We saw a bad version of what Luis Enrique wanted to impose.
It was a team with not enough layers. Fans were promised a brave team, but they were scared of losing possession and they just could not find a way through.
In terms of Luis Enrique’s legacy, he leaves behind a thought pattern of not dramatising wins and losses. There is also a good quality squad for the next manager to build on.
Spain have been a consistent, competitive side under Luis Enrique, runners-up in the Uefa Nations League and Euros semi-finalists.
The way of playing would have worked better against the better sides.