Even though Spain are thought of as one of the major contenders for winning the World Cup, they’re probably not going to have easy time this Sunday afternoon. Why? Because they’re taking on the host of the tournament, who will have a massive support from the stands of the largest stadium in Russia, Luzhniki Stadium!
This is a team that’s been in the headlines even before the World Cup started. Spain fired their previous manager just a few days before the start of the tournament and hired Fernando Hierro, a manager without too much experience. But, the change didn’t stop them from putting on a great performance in the opening round of the World Cup, in which they played 3:3 with Portugal.
However, after that game, Spain struggled quite a lot. In the two subsequent matches, they won 4 points, beating Iran 1:0 and playing 2:2 with Morocco. The Morocco clash is pretty interesting, as Spain salvaged the game with a goal in the first minute of the stoppage time.
Obviously, Spain aren’t in such a good form as their fans were hoping for. But, they definitely do have the player quality to go past Russia in the Round of 16. They seem strong literally in every part of the pitch, starting from their goalie De Gea, who’s probably very motivated to improve his performance. Actually, he’s been one of the most disappointing players in this squad, especially because he’s considered by many to be the best goalkeeper in the world.
But, defense probably won’t be their biggest concern in this game. Russia will probably do all in their power to protect their net, so Spain attackers will have to work hard. Diego Costa has already scored three goals on this tournament, so it won’t be a surprise if he scores against the World Cup 2018 hosts.
After a really impressive start of the tournament, Uruguay curbed Russia’s enthusiasm. They beat the tournament hosts 3:0 in the final game of the group stage. But, before the clash with Uruguay, Russia played really well. They thrashed both Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the first two rounds, in which they showed they definitely have the quality for the Round of 16. But do they have what it takes to get to the quarter final?
Judging their player quality, they can’t compare to Spain. However, Russia will have a big advantage in this match – they will have a massive support from the stands. The game is played at Luzhniki Stadium, where a big majority of more than 80k supporters is going to cheer for Russia.
Unfortunately for Russia, they will be without two of their key men. Dzagoev is still injured, while Igor Smolnikov will miss the game due to a red card he received in the match with Uruguay. So, you can expect Russia to defend ferociously in this game and look for their chances from counter-attacks and set pieces. In fact, set pieces seem to be their strongest weapon, as they have a couple of players who are very good in the air, particularly their attackers Dzuba and Smolov.
De Gea – Ramos, Pique, Carvajal, Alba – Busquets, Iniesta, Koke, Isco, David Silva – Costa
Akinfeev – Ignashevich, Granat, Fernandes, Zhirkov – Cheryshev, Golovin, Gazinsky, Samedov, Zobnin– Dzuba
Spain vs. Russia Match Prediction
There’s no doubt that this is going to be a tough match, but I do believe that the better team will win this. The better team is, of course, Spain, but whether they’ll win the match in the 90 minutes or after the extra time, I’m not totally sure.
Spain vs. Russia Betting Tips
- Spain to Advance @1.27 (Unibet)