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Dramas at the World Cup

Julen Lopetegui’s shock departure as Spain boss is the latest in a string of World Cup dramas.

Spain have been thrown into turmoil on the eve of the World Cup after head coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the dramas which have unfolded at previous tournaments.

Republic of Ireland, 2002

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Republic of Ireland skipper Roy Keane walking his dog Triggs after returning prematurely from the 2002 World Cup (Martin Rickett/PA)

Roy Keane headed for the 2002 finals in South Korea and Japan as one of the biggest names in world football, but the Republic of Ireland and Manchester United skipper departed before a ball had been kicked in anger after a spectacular bust-up with manager Mick McCarthy. Keane’s dissatisfaction with Ireland’s preparations escalated into an incendiary row in Saipan and an irretrievable breakdown in his relationship with McCarthy, who went on to guide the Republic to within touching distance of the quarter-finals while his star player walked his dog at home with the nation divided over which of them was in the right.

Argentina, 1994

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Diego Maradona in action for Argentina against Nigeria, after which he failed a drugs test (Peter Robinson/Empics)

Diego Maradona, who had led Argentina to glory in 1986, was sent home from the finals in the United States eight years later after he failed a drugs test. The then 33-year-old, who had previously served a 15-month FIFA suspension after testing positive for cocaine, was withdrawn from the squad by the Argentina Football Association after it was revealed a urine sample taken following a 2-1 win over Nigeria had contained traces of five variants of the banned performance-enhancing stimulant ephedrine. Maradona, whose wide-eyed celebration after he had scored in a 4-0 victory against Greece had raised eyebrows, claimed he had taken medication to treat cold and allergy symptoms, but to no avail.

England, 1970

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England captain Bobby Moore talks to the press in Essex after hearing news from Colombia that he may face a trial for allegedly stealing a gold bracelet (PA)

England captain Bobby Moore found himself at the centre of one of the World Cup’s biggest conspiracy theories when he was arrested after being accused of stealing a £600 bracelet from a hotel shop in Bogota, Colombia, on the eve of the 1970 finals in Mexico. A bemused Moore was held for four days, but was never charged and was released following the intervention of Prime Minister Harold Wilson to lead the reigning champions in their ultimately unsuccessful defence. It has since been claimed that the real thief was a woman.

Brazil, 1998

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Brazil striker Ronaldo scores against Chile at the 1998 World Cup (Michael Steele/Empics)

There was uproar when the name of Ronaldo did not appear on the Brazil teamsheet ahead of the 1998 final against hosts France, and an even bigger fuss was sparked when the then 21-year-old was reinstated. However, the big debate took place after the game following a subdued display by the Inter Milan striker in a 3-0 defeat. It later transpired that he had suffered convulsions earlier in the day and had been ruled out by manager Mario Zagallo before the player had arrived at the Stade de France with medical clearance and insisted he should play.

France, 2010

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France coach Raymond Domenech is left dejected after a 2-1 defeat by hosts South Africa sent his side home (Empics)

France boss Raymond Domenech found himself at the centre of a player revolt at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after striker Nicolas Anelka had been sent home. The France Football Federation pulled Anelka out of the tournament after he had rowed with Domenech at half-time during a 2-0 defeat by Mexico, and his team-mates refused to train in front of hundreds of fans at an open session. Domenech was left to read out a statement on behalf of the squad, which ultimately departed at the earliest opportunity having collected just a single point from three group matches.

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