Spain sack manager Julen Lopetegui just two days before Iberian World Cup derby with Portugal
Spain's World Cup preparations are in turmoil after the sacking of head coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.
Lopetegui has lost his job after it was announced on Tuesday he would take over at Real Madrid following the World Cup in Russia.
On Wednesday, Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by well over an hour before Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales announced the decision.
He said: "We have been forced to dispense with the national coach."
Lopetegui's replacement would be announced "soon", Rubiales said.
"We want to thank Julen for all he's done and he's a big reason behind us being in Russia, but we feel obliged to dispense with his services," added Rubiales.
"There has to be a message to all RFEF employees and there are ways of behaving that you need to abide by."
Spain, one of the pre-tournament favourites, take on Portugal in a much-anticipated Iberian derby on Friday and also face Morocco and Iran in their group in Russia.
In his 20 games in charge of Spain, Lopetegui had a record of 14 wins, six draws and zero defeats.
Addressing the media in Russia, Rubiales revealed he had only been told of Real's decision five minutes before they announced Lopetegui's appointment.
"The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information," Rubiales said. "(We were told) just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.
"The Spain team is the team of all Spaniards. You can't do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been obliged to make this decision."
Spain Under-21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russia, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup.
More to follow