Lopetegui: Everyone lives and breathes football in England

Julen Lopetegui has expressed his admiration for the passion for football in England. The 50-year-old is in the country preparing his Spain side for Tuesday’s friendly at Wembley.

“I like many things in English football – everyone lives and breathes it here,” said Lopetegui. “Of course, that doesn't mean I don't like Spanish football.

“English football is lived in a special way – it’s unique. Then there’s the fans’ passion. England invented football and the culture’s special.”

The Three Lions and La Roja top their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying pools. England beat local rivals Scotland 3-0 on Friday, while Spain overcame FYR Macedonia 4-0.

"Playing here is an honour and a pleasure," said Lopetegui. "The match will be difficult, against tough opponents, and I hope we have a great game.

“When I was a kid, beating England was incredible – it always had greater repercussion than beating anyone else. They’ve always been a reference point; they have so much history. This will be a special match, for sure.”

Spain have won four of their last five meetings with England without conceding a goal. They lost their last visit to Wembley, however, courtesy of an unanswered Frank Lampard header.

The nations have met twice in the World Cup. A Telmo Zarra goal earned Spain victory in the first encounter at the Maracana in 1950, while they drew 0-0 at the Bernabeu in 1982.