Rival nations going head-to-head in the opening game of the World Cup - under any circumstances, this game would be massive. But given recent events, the status of this clash between Portugal and Spain on Friday night has been elevated further.
Still recovering from the fall from grace that followed their European championship win in 2012, Spain’s worst-case scenario manifested itself this week when the RFEF felt compelled to remove Coach Julen Lopetegui from his post.
Read RealSport's preview for Portugal vs Spain HERE.
The Basque technician had agreed to a takeover at Real Madrid after the tournament but neglected to discuss the matter with his current employers, sparking a furious reaction from Federation boss Luis Rubiales.
Having only taken up the role of President in May, Rubiales wasted no time in imposing his authority, defying the pleas of the players to spare the man who had carried them this far.
With Lopetegui discharged, Sporting Director Fernando Hierro was parachuted into the role at short notice and will now try to guide Spain through the tournament. His first task will be to take on fellow Iberians, Portugal.