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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Spain name ex-Porto boss Julen Lopetegui as new head coach

Spain have confirmed the appointment of Julen Lopetegui as Vicente del Bosque's successor.

Former Real Madrid and Barcelona goalkeeper Lopetegui was out of work after leaving Porto in January, his only head coaching job with a major club. He failed to win a title during almost two years in Portugal.

The 49-year-old had previously spent time in charge of Spain's youth teams at a number of age levels, winning the European Under-19 Championship in 2012 and European Under-21 Championship in 2013.

A statement on the Spain national team's official website read: "The RFEF has named the new national team coach as Julen Lopetegui. The coach will be presented today, Thursday July 21, at 18:30 [CEST] at Las Rozas."

Lopetegui, who was linked with English Championship clubs Nottingham Forest and Wolves this summer, secured the role despite speculation that ex-Granada coach Joaquin Caparros was the favourite. 

One of Lopetegui's main tasks will be to rebuild the team as many of its top players have started to fade.

His familiarity with some of Spain's younger players from his stint as its youth team coach could help him move on from an aging group led by the 32-year-old Andres Iniesta.

In a statement to the federation's website, Lopetegui recognized the challenge ahead.

"A national team coach has very little time to transmit what he needs to a player before a big competition," Lopetegui said.

His first match will be Spain's friendly in Belgium on Sept. 1. Four days later Spain start their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a home match against Liechtenstein.

He replaces Del Bosque, who led the nation to success at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but oversaw disappointing 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 campaigns.

Del Bosque, whose departure was officially confirmed at the start of this month, said this week that the next manager must be allowed to implement his own philosophy.

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