Spain vs Russia
2018 World Cup Round of 16
Date: Sunday, 1 July 2018
Kick-Off at 15:00 UK / 16:00 CET
Venue: Stadion Luzhniki, Moscow.
Spain survived a true scare on Monday evening when Malaga’s youngster Youssef En-Nesyri headed the ball home from Nordin Amrabat’s corner to push Morocco ahead late in the stoppage time and put Spain’s World Cup dreams in jeopardize.
Nevertheless, Portugal held it out to a 1-1 draw in the other game, while Iago Aspas sent a Dani Carvajal flick into the net with a back-heel shot to put La Furia Roja back on level terms at the death. Spain thus ended top of the group and will now play hosts Russia for the place in the quarterfinal.
- Spain head into the R16 tie with hosts Russia as heavy favourites, but will they justify the tag and fix the impression after a sloppy start to the tournament?
- Russia have never defeated Spain in the past and this will be their seventh head to head contest.
- Teams drew 3-3 when they took on each other in a friendly in November last year.
Spain vs Russia Match Preview
Fernando Hierro’s Spain has by no means impressed en route to the round of 16 showing huge signs of vulnerability at the back in spite of having the likes of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique as centre backs.
The former Real Madrid defender will have to force a serious turnaround as La Furia Roja could well face a shocking exit this early in the campaign without a game-play change.
Russia thrilled the local fans with superb attacking performances in the drubbing of both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but their dreams of a deep run on home soil suffered a serious blow on Monday when 10-man Sbornaya fell 3-0 to Uruguay to finish runners-up in Group A.
Stanislav Cherchesov gave rest to his main creator in the attacking midfield, Aleksandr Golovin, in the clash with La Celeste. His absence was highly notable against Uruguay, but will he be able to make an impact against one of the main contenders for the crown in such an important affair here?
Russia will be forced to defend and that’s something they’ve not done well against Uruguay who bagged three goals past Igor Akinfeev (proved out to be very prone to mistakes there) on the final day.
Can Spain take advantage of it and raise the spirits after a sloppy group phase display?
Spain vs Russia Team News and Predicted Line-ups
Spain Team News
- Spain are undefeated in 23 games, the previous loss coming back at EURO 2016 to Italy.
- Just as expected, Fernando Hierro introduced Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara instead of Real’s Lucas Vazquez for the clash with Morocco.
- We expect to see a squad similar or identical to the one that faced the Atlas Lions on Monday.
Spain Predicted Starting Eleven (4-3-3)
De Gea – Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba – Alcantara, Busquets, Iniesta – Silva, Costa, Isco.
Russia Team News
- Stanislav Cherchesov rested Aleksandr Golovin who will certainly be back against Spain.
- Mario Fernandes will also start on the right-back as his substitute Igor Smolnikov was sent off in the first half of the contest with La Celeste.
- Yuri Zhirkov is also expected to make the return.
- Artem Dzyuba will likely be favoured to lead the line over Fedor Smolov once again.
Russia Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1)
Akinfeev – Zhirkov, Ignashevich, Kutepov, Fernandes – Gazinsky, Zobnin – Cheryshev, Golovin, Samedov – Dzyuba.
Spain vs Russia Head-to-head
These two sides tested each other just recently, playing a 3-3 draw in mid-November last year in St. Petersburg. Fedor Smolov notched a brace for the Russians back then, just as Sergio Ramos did for La Furia Roja, successfully converting two penalties on the day.
Overall, the two sides locked horns on six different occasions throughout the history. Spain won four and drew two, meaning Russia will have to pick up their maiden victory over the big opponent in order to stay in the tournament on their soil.
Prior to the aforementioned 3-3 draw, Sbornaya only scored one goal in five games against Spain who have packed three or more in all of last three encounters with the Russians.
Spain vs Russia Predictions
This one has prospects of producing a high-scoring thriller. Spain head into it as big favourites to win, but their defensive line has been anything but reliable throughout the tournament allowing the total of five goals in the group with Portugal, Iran and Morocco.
Russia proved the attacking quality netting eight goals in opening two contests and they’ve scored three goals past Spain in their recent friendly in November last year. Taking it all in consideration, backing goals at both ends just has to be the way to go and we’ll take the 2.10 odds offered for such bet all day long.
As for alternative betting options, Diego Costa could be worth backing as the anytime goal scorer at 2.10 odds having notched three goals for Spain so far in the tournament.
Predicted Full-Time Result is Spain to win in a high-scoring affair at Luzhniki.