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Introducing new Spain coach Julen Lopetegui

We get the lowdown on new Spain coach Julen Lopetegui, who hopes to repeat his previous successes with the country's youth sides after succeeding Vicente del Bosque.

Julen Lopetegui is unveiled as Spain coach
Julen Lopetegui is unveiled as Spain coach ©AFP

What does he say?
On his appointment
"I would like to reiterate my gratitude for the faith that has been shown in me and for the opportunity to lead the national team. It fills me with pride and gives me a great sense of responsibility. I'm well aware that there will be very high demands placed on me."

On his vision for Spain
"The base of the team is clear. We have plenty of players that have proved they are up to the standard and I'm sure others will come into the set-up, too. There's not going to be a revolution, it'll be evolution. We're going to try and take advantage of the good shape the team is in while making slight adjustments."

What's his background?
A goalkeeper who had brief spells at Real Madrid and Barcelona, and featured in Spain's 1994 FIFA World Cup squad, Lopetegui spent the bulk of his playing career with Logroñés and Rayo Vallecano, making his coaching debut with the latter in 2003.

After a spell as a pundit, he took charge of Real Madrid's reserves, and then led Spain to the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finals in 2011 – and glory at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Estonia the following year.

Moving up a level, he steered a team featuring David de Gea, Isco, Thiago Alcántara, Álvaro Morata and Koke to glory at the 2013 U21 EURO in Israel. Lopetegui returned to club management in 2014 at Porto, steering them to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in his first campaign before parting with the club in January this year.

How will his side play?
With his longest and most successful stint as a coach coming with Spain's national teams during a golden age, Lopetegui will likely maintain the expansive, possession-based style espoused by Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque.

"We have a style of play and we believe in that style," he said after winning that U21 championship in 2013. "We have good enough players who believe in the system but we know it's not perfect. Nothing in football is perfect. We should keep working to try and improve it."

Watch Spain's 3-0 win over Turkey.

Did you know?
Lopetegui was coached by Alfredo di Stéfano at Real Madrid and Johan Cruyff at Barcelona. While at Camp Nou, he struck up a friendship with Josep Guardiola which was rekindled when Porto met Bayern München in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, the German side beating his team 7-4 on aggregate.

What happens next?
Lopetegui, 49, will name his squad for Spain's first 2018 World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein at the end of August before meeting up with the team to prepare for the 5 September fixture. A month later, Spain face Italy away. That comes less than four months after the Azzurri knocked the holders out of UEFA EURO 2016 with a 2-0 victory. Another difficult trip to Albania follows on 9 October.


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