Martinez: Lopetegui exit could galvanise Spain

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has warned that Spain may be an even bigger threat after manager Julen Lopetegui’s dramatic sacking this week.

Lopetegui was removed as Spain boss only two days before the World Cup, after being announced as Real Madrid’s new manager, and replaced by Fernando Hierro.

The shock change could have a negative impact on Spain’s players, but Martinez believes it may even pull the group together and result in more determined La Roja performances as they aim to bounce back from the setback.

“In football, you seem not to be surprised by anything and even I think the events of yesterday were surprising,” Martinez told a press conference.

“He [Lopetegui] has been working really hard for two years, but again that’s the nature of the game, that’s the nature of football and it’s something we didn’t expect and it’ll be interesting to see how the group reacts to that.

“It could go both ways. It could go that maybe that affects the work they try to do or the opposite, you’re going to see the reaction of a group galvanised by the effects of losing their head coach, getting stronger together and facing adversity in the stronger manner.”