Spain v Switzerland: Julen Lopetegui ready for debut tournamentbeer789 Julen Lopetegui says he is ready to lead Spain into a tournament for the first time and cast aside recent disappointments. Having led the U19 and U21 international sides to victory, Lopetegui stepped into the senior hot seat in 2016 replacing long-serving boss Vicente Del Bosque. That followed Spain's Euro 2016 last-16 defeat to Italy, and an even poorer performance at the World Cup in 2014 - but now the former Rayo Vallecano is ready to begin preparations for his first tournament with a warm-up match against Switzerland on Sunday, which is live on Sky Sports Football.
He said: "When you come from a painful moment after being knocked out of a tournament the first feeling is one of sadness, but when I arrived that sense was already passing and there was excitement to keep going, to forget that tournament and prepare for the next one. "We found a team in great health in every sense, a side full of top players. The fact they had gone to a tournament and not done as well as expected didn't mean everything was a mess.
beer789 "Instead, we found a great team and we are trying to carve out our own path, trying to evolve and grow the style of play we already had." Part of Lopetegui's rebuilding job has been to revitalise the squad, and the one which will face Switzerland will be without several notable players. Chelsea quartet Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata, Pedro and Marcos Alonso were all omitted from the 23-man squad to travel to Russia, while only four of those who helped Spain to Euro 2008 victory are still in the reckoning.
Switzerland have won 12 of their last 14 matches since losing on penalties to Poland at Euro 2016, and thrashed Panama 6-0 in their last game in March. They will be without Granit Xhaka for the trip to Spain, with the Arsenal midfielder ruled out with injury on Thursday, but otherwise have a full squad to pick from. Vladimir Petkovic's team are keen to enter the World Cup in form after being handed a tough group, featuring Serbia, Brazil and Costa Rica. beer789