World Cup 2018: Spain vs Russia - Preview, Team news, Predicted XI, Prediction, head to head & Interesting stats
The first match on the second day of the knockout stages of the World Cup will see hosts Russia facing off against Spain.
Former World Champions Spain started off their World Cup in a quite exciting manner as they drew 3-3 with Portugal in one of the early contenders for match of the tournament that saw Diego Costa scoring a brace and Nacho scoring a wonder goal for Spain while Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hattrick for the Portuguese.
The second match saw La Roja defeating a rather impressive Iran side 1-0 after Diego Costa scored a rather lucky goal after the ricochet of his lead. The third match saw Spain facing off against Morocco in a match to determine the toppers of Group B.
In an exciting match, Spain drew level at almost the end of regular time with Iago Asps scoring a VAR assisted goal helping Spain finish Group B as toppers with the higher number of goals scored than Portugal.
Host Russia started off their World Cup campaign in an impressive manner as hammered a hapless Saudi Arabian side 5-0 after everyone had predicted a rather poor World Cup for the hosts. The second match saw the Russians continuing their sparkling after they saw off a Mo Salah lead Liverpool side 3-1. The next match saw Russia facing off against eventual group toppers Uruguay, In a match that brought the Russian crowd back to the Earth, after they were elevated sky high due to their team's performance, Uruguay comprehensively defeated Russia 3-0 to qualify as group toppers as Russia settled for the second spot in the group.
Spain may choose to rest Sergio Busquets as the midfielder is just one yellow card away from suspension
Aleksandr Golovin, Fedor Smolov and Yuri Gazinsky are all one yellow card away from a one-game suspension while Mario Fernandes is set to play at right-back as Igor Smolnikov is banned after his red card versus Uruguay,
Possible line-ups for both the teams
Spain XI: David De Gea, Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Koke, Andres Iniesta, Isco, Diego Costa, Iago Aspas.
Russia XI: Igor Akinfeev, Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba
Head to Head Stats
Since the break up of Soviet Union Russia are yet to defeat Spain with most recent one being a 3-3 draw. Spain has registered victory 3 times in the last time these two teams have met in major tournaments.
Spain has had more than 50% possession in 32 of the last 33 games played by La Roja.
If Andreas Iniesta plays against Russia it would be his 30th appearance for Spain in major tournaments making just the third player to achieve this. The Barcelona man is yet to score for Spain since his Wolrd Cup-clinching goal in 2010 final.
It's for the first time since 2008, European Championship that Russia is appearing in the knockout stages of a major tournament while it will be their first World Cup knockout stage match since 1986.
Spain vs Russia, Round of 16
Match Date: 01 July 2018, Sunday
Match Timing: 19:30 IST
Match Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Spain is expected to win the match comfortably with too much match winners in the Spanish team. Spain 3 -1 Russia.