As the Fifa World Cup 2018 fever continue, playoffs deciding the fate of the teams, Spain confirmed their ticket for Round of Sixteen. They topped their consecutive group (Grp B). Now Spain is going to face the Hosts in Knockout stage on Sun, 1st Jul, 2018 at 7:00 pm in Luzhniki Stadium. Although Russia won 2 matches out of 3 in group stages but they managed 2nd place in Group A.
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Russia hosting The World Cup, almost 6 billion people watching this event, A big moment for their country. Now in a real tough contest, home advantage but huge pressure also.
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The Russians have their first ever Knockout match in World Cup since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia have never beaten Spain (D2 L4). The last encounter ended 3-3 in a friendly back in November 2017. They were knocked out by Spain in 2008 Euro semi-finals.
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Russia has a good track record so far in World Cup 2018, They scored 8 Goals in just 3 matches. They beat Saudi Arabia 5-0, Egypt 3-1. But against Urugyay, in their last match, Russia had only 3 shots in 90 minutes. They lost 3-0. Russia as a team, played well till now. But they lack international exposure, quality players, World Cup experience and that matters a lot. Its going to be a tough match for Russia against the best side of Europe.
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Although Spanish side struggled in group stages (W1 D2) but they are unbeaten in their last 23 games (W15 D8), the longest current run amongst the 32 teams at the World Cup 2018. They have players of World Cup 2010 winning team. Sergio Ramos, Anders Iniesta, Gerard pique, David Silva, Sergio Busquets having 3 World Cup playing experience.
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Anders Iniesta with his life long experience and World Class techniques, will be the key midfielder in do or die collision against Russia. He has a dream carrier with 9 La Liga titles, 4 Champions leagues, 1 World Cup, overall 32 trophies. He has support of Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantara. Isco has scored 10 goals and provide 2 assists in his last 15 matches for Spain. He has David Silva on left and Diego Costa in front. With such talent, Spanish side is already considered favourite for World Cup 2018.
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Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramous, Jordi Alba and Nacho Fernandez will handle the defence department. Sergio Ramous, The Captaincy band owner, with little heel injury may be not the part of starting eleven. Although they did their best in playoffs but they conceded 5 goals in 3 matches, A big question mark on their performance.
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Best Goalkeeper of English Premier League David de Gea, made huge mistake against Portugal as he left a simple straight shot and in result, Spain ended up draw against Ronaldo eleven. Spanish head coach Fernando Hierro thinking about benching De Gea for Kepa, till now ,there are just rumors.
Overall, Spanish side have huge advantage over hosts. Russians showed their weaknesses and limits in match against Uruguay,