Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui smiles during a press conference following his appointment as new manager of the Spanish national football team in Madrid on July 21, 2016. AFP / JAVIER SORIANO
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Julen Lopetegui, who led Spain's youth teams to international success, was tasked Thursday with breathing new life into La Roja after they crashed out of the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 .The Spanish football federation announced the 49-year-old former goalkeeper would take over from Vicente del Bosque as manager of the national team, weeks after the latter resigned following Spain's defeat to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016 .He vowed to build on the groundwork already laid by Del Bosque, who had led Spain to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 titles, after taking over from Euro 2008-winning coach Luis Aragones.Lopetegui signed Iker Casillas from Real Madrid in July 2015, but that did little to help and he was sacked in January with Porto languishing in third behind Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, having been knocked out at the group stages of the Champions League.
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