Lopetegui prepares for U-20s

Julen Lopetegui has reflected on how he hopes to harness the energy from Spain’s Under-21 success in leading the Under-20s into the World Cup.

After guiding La Rojita to retaining their European Under-21 Championship in Israel on Tuesday evening, Lopetegui and his coaching staff are preparing out in Turkey for the commencement of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which begins tomorrow.

For the tactician, the challenge in handling the two competitions could be made easier by the win from the first.

“On Tuesday night we celebrated and savoured it, but aware that we have a new responsibility and we have to focus on the next target,” commented Lopetegui in conversation with Mundo Deportivo.

“We will harness the positive energy from Israel and face up to the competition that begins now. This is a group that we have barely been able to train.

“Tomorrow they debut against the United States, who have taken almost a month to prepare exclusively for this World Cup. As always, the competition is going to be complicated.

“Is our objective to win? Again it will be very difficult. We have to face a France that has [Geoffrey] Kondogbia and [Samuel] Umtiti, players who have already played for the senior side.

“They are a very good squad and then there is Nigeria, who are always a favourite in this category.

“The United States are a team that were close to winning the CONCACAF Under-20 Final against Mexico, they only capitulated after a long game [after extra time 3-1].”

Tags 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship FIFA U-20 World Cup La Rojita Lopetegui Spain Under-21s