The FIFA World Cup pre-quarters kicked off in scintillating fashion after France prevailed over Argentina with a 4-3 margin in a compelling encounter at the Kazan Arena. The second fixture from last night between Uruguay and Portugal resulted in a 2-1 win for Oscar Tabarez’s men and after more than 180 minutes of knockout football, it is safe to say that the tournament has well and truly lived up to the lofty expectations.
However, things don’t end there and all eyes will be on the hosts Russia, who will face Spain in their respective Round of 16 tie at the Luzhniki Stadium later today. La Furia Roja are strong favourites to progress but the hosts have defied the odds so far in this tournament and if recent performances are anything to go by, then we should be able to witness a fiercely contested and enticing encounter.
In this segment, we will be taking a closer look at the 5 key player battles that can possibly decide the outcome of this game. Without further delay, lets get straight to the point and analyse the battles within the war:
#5 Diego Costa vs Sergey Ignashevich
Spain will be banking on Diego Costa to find the back of the net, like he so often does, as La Furia Roja prepare themselves for the knockout stages. The mercurial striker has been in sensational form for his country so far and has already grabbed 3 goals in as many games. The raging bull in Costa is expected to come right at the veteran in Sergey Ignashevich during this pre-quarter encounter and this will prove to be an intriguing battle.
Costa is someone who can play on any defender’s mind and it will be interesting to see how the 38-year-old Ignashevich, who came out of retirement to play in this tournament, tackles this complicated obstacle.