In Summary
  • Lopetegui was named as Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid successor less than 24 hours prior, something Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said he heard about just five minutes before the news was announced.

Spain made the stunning decision to dispense with coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, just two days before their first match at the 2018 World Cup.

Lopetegui was named as Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid successor less than 24 hours prior, something Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said he heard about just five minutes before the news was announced.

Following a delay to Lopetegui's news conference in Krasnodar on Wednesday, Rubiales, who travelled from the FIFA Congress in Moscow for talks, informed the media that the coach had been dismissed, with Fernando Hierro assuming his responsibilities for the World Cup.

Spain were considered one of the pre-tournament favourites, but the decision, which comes with a clash against Portugal scheduled for Friday, potentially sends their campaign into disarray.

We look at other times when off-field drama caused chaos on the grandest stage.

MAD MARADONA

Despite having served a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test in 1991, Maradona worked his way back into the Argentina squad for the World Cup in the United States three years later.

Maradona, wearing the captain's armband, announced his return with a lovely goal in their opening 4-0 win over Greece, though it was the crazed look on his face as he stared down the camera in celebration that drew more comments.

The virtuoso attacker tested positive for ephedrine after a 2-1 triumph over Nigeria and was sent home from the tournament, with Argentina losing their next two games against Bulgaria and Romania to go out in the last 16.

-2#Mexico1986 Final LIVE
Maradona lifts the #WorldCup in front of 114,600 fans! A tournament full of memories pic.twitter.com/0vLCOJianx
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 29, 2016

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