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UEFA European Championship

Euro 2024: Who is Luis de la Fuente? Everything you need to know about Spain's head coach

Published at :July 10, 2024 at 6:59 PM
Modified at :July 10, 2024 at 6:59 PM
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Manav Chowdhury


La Roja led by Luis de la Fuente overcame France in the Euro 2024 semi-final.

Luis de la Fuente Castillo is currently the head coach of the Spain national football team, who has helped La Roja reach the finals of the Euro 2024. He is a former professional player who played as a left-back. Spain are aiming for a fourth continental title at Euro 2024. La Roja have impressed everyone with their brilliant performance in every match as they have been playing some really good football under Luis de la Fuente.

De la Fuente has fused youth and experience into his team, as there is a good amount of balance in the Spanish team under his leadership. Despite his eye-catching performance in charge of Spain, De la Fuente is not widely known as his predecessor. The 63-year-old manager with no top-flight managerial experience, the man from the Rioja region has completely changed the Spanish National team. Here we take a look at his whole journey:

Who is Luis de la Fuente?

Luis de la Fuente was born in Haro, he spent 11 years playing in Bilbao and was part of the last Athletic team to win the Spanish league title in 1984. The former left-back also began his coaching career with Basque clubs before finding his way into the Spanish FA just over a decade ago.

He played 254 LaLiga matches and played for Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla. He represented Spain U-18, U-21 and the Olympic team in his playing days. De la Fuente decided to retire from football at the age of 33.

Work Experience

He got his first managerial job in Club Portugalete in the regional league, Later on, he was appointed as the manager of Aurrera but was sacked after a few months, then for a few years, he managed the Sevilla youth team and later on, went to manage youth team of Athletic Bilbao.

He began coaching the Spain U-19 in 2013 and led them to the European Championship two years later. He reached the final in 2015 before moving up to the U-21s. He then led the team to win the 2019 European Championship in which Spain defeated Germany by 1-0. After that, he also managed the Spanish team in the Tokyo Olympics where Spain won the Silver medal, losing to Brazil in the finals.

After a disappointing World Cup campaign Luis Enrique left and then De la Fuente was appointed as the head coach of the Spanish national team. His first match as a head coach was against Norway in Euro 2024 qualification as La Roja won by 3-0. He led the country to victory in the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League defeating Croatia 5-4 on penalties.

Also read: Euro 2024: Didier Deschamps’s journey so far as France’s manager

Philosophy

Due to his background in coaching many youth teams, he likes to have many young players in his squad. He explained his philosophy by stating, “I come from a grassroots background, our commitment to the people we trust in the youth system, is not a pose, it is a conviction.” There is now more emphasis on verticality or bypassing midfield triangles and hitting forwards earlier with direct balls.

Spain usually dominate possesion under De la Fuente and started to use a more traditional centre forward and deliver more crosses inside the box. He likes his team to press very high up the pitch and always wants his midfielders to control the intensity of the game. The role of both wingers is very important under De la Fuente’s coaching. He mostly uses 4-2-3-1 formation and also sometimes 4-3-3 formation.

Career Highlights

As a player, he won the LaLiga in 1982-83 and 1983-84 and Copa del Rey in the 1983-84 season. As a manager he won the U-19 UEFA European Championship in 2015, the U-21 UEFA European Championship in 2019 and also led La Roja to win the Silver medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He helped the senior team to win the UEFA Nations League in 2022-23. He has led La Roja to their fifth European final and will have another chance to lead the team to glory.

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