It is no secret that the Spanish national team had high expectations for this year’s World Cup. Unfortunately, they could not meet them, dramatically crashing out of the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Morocco in a penalty shootout in Qatar 2022. This elimination has led to Luis Enrique being replaced as coach by Luis de la Fuente.
Some have suggested that Enrique should shoulder most of the blame for Spain’s early exit from the competition. After all, he was ultimately responsible for putting together and leading this squad throughout qualifying and then during the group stages and knockouts of the World Cup itself.
However, it is important to remember that many factors beyond one person’s control can contribute to success or failure on such a large stage, including luck (or lack thereof) and individual player performances on any given day.
The Spanish soccer federation hailed Luis Enrique for his work but warned the team needed to “start a new project” if it wanted to maintain the recent successes. It said that the modification was implemented at the urging of its sports administrators.
Luis Enrique thanked the federation’s president, Luis Rubiales, and the rest of his team while he was in charge.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to help more,” the outgoing coach said in a statement on Twitter and Instagram. “It was very special to be part of this.”
He also thanked fans and called for their support for the new coach.
“What the national team needs is support, in all its meaning, so Luis de la Fuente can achieve the goals.”
For Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao, as well as the Spanish under-19 and under-21 teams that won the European Championships in 2015 and 2019, respectively, Fuente played left back. He also coached the Spanish team that finished second place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Once, when the senior national team had to go into seclusion due to the coronavirus, de la Fuente managed a youth team in a friendly against Lithuania.
In addition to De la Fuente, who coached Spain’s under-21 team, Roberto Martnez and Marcelino Garcia Toral, who had managed Belgium, were also in the running.
After a promising start in Qatar, where Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0, La Roja went winless in its next three matches. Before being held by Morocco, it tied Germany 1–1, then fell to Japan 2–1.
After being eliminated in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Luis Enrique was given control of the national team to begin rebuilding. After leaving in 2018 due to his daughter’s illness and subsequent death, he returned in 2019.
Twice he has helped Spain advance to the semifinals of the Nations League (the team lost the final to France last year).
He captained Spain to the semifinals in the previous year’s European Championship, where they ultimately lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
After the FIFA World Cup, Luis Enrique’s contract was no longer valid. Moments after Barcelona’s loss to Morocco, the team’s former player and coach indicated he would relax before discussing his future with the federation. He said he wished he could have played for the national team “forever,” but he understood that this was probably not an option.
Luis Enrique, 52, once considered one of the most reticent managers in the sport, seemed more relaxed during the World Cup when he streamed sessions, rode a bicycle, and spoke honestly about contentious topics.
De la Fuente will likely make his national team debut in March next year when Spain resumes Euro 2024 qualifying. Furthermore, the federation was replacing the position of sporting director.