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Spain FA to oppose La Liga match in US

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The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is the  latest organization to put the kabosh on La Liga’s plan to take their game abroad.

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Joining with FIFA, the RFEF will reportedly not approve Barcelona’s match at Girona being moved to Miami on January 27 of next year. The RFEF are expected to make their view public on Friday, per Cadena Cope. Its the latest blow to the previously announced 15-year deal between Relevant Sports and La Liga, which on its face claims to be a marketing rights deal but in practice would include taking league matches outside of Spain. The decision to move games abroad has been panned by fans and media across the globe, with players in Spain’s top two divisions also making their frustrations known.

In order for a match to take place abroad, it needs approval from all the associations governing the sport in the countries involved, a process that makes it seem very unlikely it will happen any time soon. Ultimately, it appears it will take a serious political effort on the part of Relevant Sports to get FIFA, the RFEF and U.S. Soccer to all agree to something that may not pay immediate dividends to those associations.

For Soccer fans in Miami, they’ll likely have to wait until Barcelona’s next preseason tour of the U.S. to see the Blaugrana, or take a trip to Spain themselves.

Spain consider bid to host Euro 2028 or 2030 World Cup


MADRID (AP) Spain is reportedly considering a bid to host the 2028 European Championship or the 2030 World Cup.

Spanish media reports say the idea was brought up on Wednesday in a meeting involving FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and soccer federation president Luis Rubiales.

Several reports, citing government sources, said a bid to host the 2030 World Cup could possibly be made jointly with Portugal and Morocco.

Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup. The city of Bilbao will host matches during Euro 2020.

The Iberian nation also hosted Euro 1964 and bid jointly with Portugal for the 2018 World Cup, which was held in Russia.

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Change in attitude key for Luis Enrique’s revamped Spain

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MADRID (AP) After only two matches, Luis Enrique already knows the key to his early success as coach of Spain’s national team.

Enrique said the team’s approach in the impressive wins over England and Croatia in the UEFA Nations League is what made the difference for a revamped squad since he took over.

“What I liked the most in these 10 days was the players’ attitude on and off the field,” the former Barcelona coach said. “In only a few training sessions they were able to put our ideas into practice.”

Enrique spoke after Spain’s 6-0 rout of World Cup runner-up Croatia in the Nations League on Tuesday. Three days earlier, La Roja had come from behind to defeat England 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

“It was a spectacular day. I couldn’t have imagined it,” Enrique said after the team overpowered Croatia. “But regardless of the score, what I saw in the players’ attitude was what was important. With this level of efficiency and with this quality that we have in front of the goal, it will be very difficult to stop us.”

Fans loudly chanted the coach’s name during Tuesday’s game in the southeastern Spanish city of Elche.

“I was a little embarrassed. It surprised me,” Enrique said. “I’m thankful, but I prefer that they cheer the players, they are the real protagonists.”

Enrique was announced as Spain’s coach in July following the team’s World Cup debacle, when the soccer federation fired Julen Lopetegui two days before the tournament and the team eventually was eliminated by host Russia in the round of 16.

His first contact with players came less than two weeks ago in training camp. He immediately imposed his energetic style in the practice sessions, and it translated onto the field in the first two matches.

Enrique had already taken action to bring the players together and build greater camaraderie within the group, including banning cell phones during meals so players could spend more time talking to each other. He also took the squad to an “escape room,” where players had to work together to solve puzzles and try to break out.

“I liked what I saw from the players the whole week,” Enrique said.

On the field, the coach also implemented important changes, making the team apply more pressure without the ball and playing a more direct game in attack, relinquishing the endless short passes that used to be a characteristic of Spain’s national team.

“Luis Enrique asks us to be very aggressive up front, to pressure and try to dominate, not giving the opponent any breathing room,” said Marco Asensio, who scored a goal and set up three others against Croatia on Tuesday. “We needed to get this sort of feeling back. We’ve put in two great performances.”

Asensio was the man of the match against Croatia but he didn’t even start against England. Iago Aspas played at Wembley and also performed well. Saul Niguez, who has become an undisputable starter for Enrique in midfield thanks to his versatility, also scored on Tuesday, as did Sergio Ramos, Rodrigo and Francisco “Isco” Alarcon.

Spain’s next match is a friendly against Wales on Oct. 11 in Cardiff. Four days later it will host England in Seville in the Nations League.

“Now we have time to analyze everything in more detail,” Enrique said. “There are things to improve despite these first two matches.”

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UEFA Nations League wrap: Enrique’s Spain unloads on Croatia

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The UEFA Nations League rolled on Tuesday with a pair of big names earning blowout wins, one more surprising than the other.

[ MORE: USMNT-Mexico preview ]

Spain 6-0 Croatia

The visitors went to the World Cup Final.

The hosts were bounced at the group stage amidst managerial turmoil.

So, of course, new Spain manager Luis Enrique saw his side bury the World Cup runners-up by a half-dozen goals in Elche.

Marco Asensio’s sensational first international goal (above) was joined by a Croatian own goal and four different Spanish goal scorers (Saul Niguez, Rodrigo, Sergio Ramos, Isco).

Iceland 0-3 Belgium

A Romelu Lukaku brace joined Eden Hazard‘s 29th minute penalty kick in giving Belgium a win its UEFA Nations League debut and sending Iceland to a second-straight loss in the nascent competition.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 Austria
Hungary 2-1 Greece
Finland 1-0 Estonia
Moldova 0-0 Belarus
San Marino 0-3 Luxembourg

Spanish league requests permission to play match in Miami

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MADRID (AP) The Spanish league says it has requested permission from the national soccer federation to play a regular-season match between Girona and Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Jan. 26.

Staging the match abroad is part of the league’s goal of promoting soccer and its brand in other countries, but the idea has drawn criticism from some players, fans and clubs.

Spain’s players’ association said the athletes were never consulted about the league’s plan and ultimately they will have the final say on whether to play the game. Spanish league president Javier Tebas met with the association on Monday and planned to give players a detailed description of the project.

The league said a compensation package has been offered to season-ticket holders of Girona, who will be relinquishing a home game.

Girona, in its second season in the first division, had said the game would help promote the club and the city.