Spain caused what could be the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday, a full 24 hours before the tournament even gets underway.
Head coach Julen Lopetegui has been sacked, two days before their opening match against Portugal and just three weeks after signing a new contract until 2020.
Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), claimed he was left with no choice following Lopetegui's decision to agree to become Real Madrid's new head coach.
Although Lopetegui would not have taken up the post at the Santiago Bernabeu until after the World Cup, Rubiales was apparently furious at the way negotiations took place without the RFEF in the loop, prompting his decision to dispense with the coach.
But with Spain having looked strong in pre-tournament friendlies, and with senior players said to have called for Lopetegui to stay, has Rubiales made a big mistake? We take a look at the 51-year-old's record with the national team, with a little help from Opta...
20 - Julen Lopetegui has not lost any of his first 20 games for #ESP (W14 D6), the second best unbeaten start of any manager, being currently the side on the longest unbeaten run heading into the World Cup. Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/RKbED7XTKF— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 12, 2018
20 – Lopetegui was in charge of Spain for 20 matches, winning 14 and drawing six.
25 – Only Luis Aragones enjoyed a better start as Spain coach, going unbeaten in his first 25 outings.
61 – Spain scored 61 times with Lopetegui as coach, and no team managed to keep a clean sheet against them.
13 – No player won more games for Spain during Lopetegui's tenure than Sergio Ramos, who enjoyed 13 victories.
11 – Isco was the second most productive Spain player in Lopetegui's time in charge, scoring nine times and setting up two. David Silva leads the way (17 – 11 goals and six assists).
7 – Seven of Madrid's current squad have been called up for Spain duty by Lopetegui – Jesus Vallejo being the only one to yet make an appearance.
24 de octubre 2018
|Red Sox top Dodgers in World Series opener|
|Griffin scores 50 points, Pistons edge 76ers in overtime thriller|
|Longley hails LeBron´s bravery after LA Lakers move|
|Ronaldo thanks Manchester United fans for Old Trafford welcome|
|Fabinho to get chance against Red Star, says Klopp|
|River Plate 0 Gremio 1: Michel header gives Brazilians edge in semi|
|Mourinho concerned by Lukaku drought|
|Benzema: I know I must score more goals|
|Maybe journalists criticise because they can´t play football – Marcelo defends Lopetegui|
|Manning on trade rumours: It´s hard to imagine being with another organisation|
|Shaw: Man United showed too much respect to Juve|
|CAF Champions League Review: Al Ahly to face ES Tunis in final|
|76ers star Simmons dealing with back tightness|
|Roma boss Di Francesco hails ´extraordinary´ Dzeko|
|Pizzi and Jardel rue Benfica´s Ajax reverse|
|Championship Review: Leaders held at home, Smith suffers first Aston Villa defeat|
|Mourinho suggests Manchester United must spend to rejoin European elite|
|Manchester City reached their peak against Shakhtar - Guardiola|
|I really missed that winning feeling – Kroos|
|Lopetegui believes Real Madrid win can be turning point|
|Allegri: Juventus still making too many mistakes|
|Cole leads unbeaten Avellino to overtime victory|
|Mourinho hails ´amazing´ Chiellini and Bonucci after Juventus outclass United|
|Simeone glad to have Costa back for Dortmund clash|
23 de octubre 2018
|Lopetegui to remain in charge for El Clasico - Butragueno|
|Isner saves two match points to beat Norrie, Federer grinds out victory|
|Icardi happy at Inter ahead of Barca return|
|Marcelino satisfied with point after Valencia hold on at Young Boys|
|Hoffenheim 3 Lyon 3: Joelinton rescues a point after Kramaric´s double|
|Ajax 1 Benfica 0: Last-gasp Mazraoui seals dramatic win|
|Roma 3 CSKA Moscow 0: Dzeko turns on the style|
|Kovac lauds dominant Bayern|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Manchester City 3: Silva sparkle to dominant display|
|Manchester United 0 Juventus 1: Dybala downs Mourinho´s men on Ronaldo´s return|
|Real Madrid 2 Viktoria Plzen 1: Benzema and Marcelo´s goals give holders first win in six|
|Lakers´ Rondo denies spitting on Rockets´ Paul|
|Robben and Rafinha want more from Bayern|
|Federer survives Krajinovic scare to maintain Basel run|
|Green accuses NBA of double standards, calls Lakers-Rockets suspensions ´garbage´|
|New York Giants send Apple to Saints|
|Morgan aims to solve Colombo mystery after record ODI defeat|
|AEK Athens 0 Bayern Munich 2: Lewandowski helps to further ease Kovac woes|
|Young Boys 1 Valencia 1: Hoarau penalty denies Marcelino´s men|
|Mourinho walks to Old Trafford as United arrive late again for Champions League|
|Bale and Benzema back for Madrid as Lopetegui rings changes|
|Carr denies ´fractured relationship´ with Raiders team-mates|
|De Bruyne to start for Manchester City against Shakhtar Donetsk|
|France lose Le Roux and Fofana for November Tests|
|Martino to leave Atlanta United amid Mexico links|
|Pochettino cautious over Eriksen return|
|Ancelotti an inspiration for PSG boss Tuchel|
|Persepolis 1 Al Sadd 1 (2-1 agg): Iranians into first AFC Champions League final|
|Wales boss Gatland returns to New Zealand after father´s death|
|Sri Lanka hand England their heaviest ODI defeat|
|Nuggets guard Will Barton undergoes surgery|
|Surprise package Svitolina closes in on semi-final berth|
|Alexander-Arnold targets glory at home and abroad|
|Pogba relishing emotional Juventus reunion|
|Alba hopes Lopetegui keeps Real Madrid job|
|Valverde not expecting Messi magical recovery|
|Wozniacki calms fears over knee injury|
|Maybe it´s my interviews - Klopp on Liverpool´s room for improvement|
|Language no barrier to Dortmund dangermen Reus and Alcacer|
|EPCR confirms no replay of Bath-Toulouse Champions Cup fixture|
|F1 Raceweek: Five the magic number as Hamilton eyes Mexico repeat|
|RFU to introduce in-season breaks for players|
|Nainggolan misses Barcelona trip|
|Wozniacki battles through knee complaint to down Kvitova|
|Alcacer: Two seasons at Barcelona not lost|
|Henderson, Keita to miss Liverpool´s Red Star clash|