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Spain need Luis Enrique in charge, and here's why

Spain
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Top 10 'what ifs' of the 2018 World Cup: Messi's penalty vs. Iceland, Spain's Lopetegui decision

ESPN's Charlie Gibson puts a bow on Project Russia from a scintillating final, as France claimed World Cup glory.

This World Cup, as with any major tournament, has hinged on some pivotal moments. But what if they had gone the other way. Here are 10 "What if..." moments from the last month in Russia...

10. Harry Kane had scored against Croatia

In the end, there were a wide range of reasons for England's defeat to Croatia: Gareth Southgate's side not creating enough chances, inexplicably being outrun by a team who'd previously played two extra times, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic. But in the first half, or...

Spain need Luis Enrique for his no-nonsense, high-risk approach

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti assesses Spain's decision to appoint Luis Enrique and the challenges he may face as an international manager.

Ask the majority of Spain's recent European Championship and World Cup winners what their seminal memory of La Roja playing international football was and it will be Mauro Tassotti trying to elbow the nose right off Luis Enrique's face at the Foxboro Stadium during the 1994 World Cup quarterfinal against Italy. For this wiry, tough, no-nonsense, detail-obsessed Treble-winner to be appointed Spain coach exactly 24 years later, to the day, is symbolic in the extreme.

Back then, Luis Enrique represented...

Spain's World Cup failure rooted in Julen Lopetegui's shock sacking

Sid Lowe and the FC crew conduct a deep dive into Spain's World Cup exit and call Fernando Hierro's tactics into question after the defeat to Russia.
Relive Russia's thrilling upset over Spain in the round of 16 in Lego form.

KRASNODAR, Russia -- Spain started as a victim of chaos and ended a victim of too much organization. In its way, Spain's 2018 World Cup fiasco will be as damaging as -- perhaps more than -- the embarrassments of Brazil four years ago and the 2016 European Championship in France.

The pandemonium of Spain's manager initially choosing to become Julen "Two Jobs" Lopetegui and then almost immediately being sacked did have its debilitating effects. Of course it did. But that chaos should not, under any...

Spain's media reacts to shock World Cup exit: a team 'without soul or joy'

Sid Lowe and the FC crew conduct a deep dive into Spain's World Cup exit and call Fernando Hierro's tactics into question after the defeat to Russia.
Free-Kick: Iniesta bids farewell as hose curse strikes Spain, while Neymar and Lukaku hope to step up
Andres Iniesta lost his final match in a Spain jersey after falling to Russia in penalties, while Croatia reached the quarterfinals in equally dramatic style.

There was shock and pain in the Spanish media Monday morning, as fans and pundits came to terms with their disappointing World Cup exit on penalties to Russia.

Amid lots of puns around the Spanish words pena (meaning a pity, a shame or a prison sentence) and penalty, there was also plenty of blame to go around, with a consensus that their tournament had been fatally undermined even before it began.

MARCA

Walking home -- A Spain without pace, without depth, without soul or joy, with sterile domination,...

World Cup diaries: Watching Russia v Spain in the heart of Siberia

Fans celebrate Russia's winning penalty

12-43 a.m. in Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia. There's a wedding party on in the hotel, and the bar is full of celebrants at the end of a long weekend of festivities. Russian weddings typically start on a Friday and go on till Sunday, the ceremonies lubricated by litres of vodka.

The vodka's effects had surfaced through the penalty shootout, with cheers for each of Russia's converted kicks and for Koke's miss, and loud groans, accompanied by palms waved downwards in the universal expression of disgust,...

David Silva off the pace again as Spain knocked out of World Cup on penalties

Sid Lowe and the FC crew conduct a deep dive into Spain's World Cup exit and call Fernando Hierro's tactics into question after the defeat to Russia.
ESPN FC's Stevie Nicol feels Spain got what they deserved against Russia, and gives the hosts their due credit for getting the job done.
Russia advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1970 after defeating Spain 4-3 on penalties.

Spain were gifted the lead through Sergey Ignashevich's early own goal, then themselves handed Russia an equaliser via Gerard Pique. The second half was played at almost walking pace, brought very little drama -- ditto the first extra time of the tournament -- and Fernando Hierro's side paid dearly for their lack of ideas and intensity by exiting 4-3 on penalties in the shootout.

Positives

Hierro's side defended better than in previous games, mostly due to taking fewer risks in possession...