Host Russia take on Spain in the round of 16 clash at the Luzhniki Stadium today. The hosts started the tournament brightly but suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Uruguay in their last game of the group stage.
On the other hand Spain made one of the most shocking decisions in the history of World Cup when they sacked manager Julen Loptegeui on the eve of the campaign after he was announced to take over Real Madrid after the World Cup. Under current manager Fernando Hero Spain have not been at their best they have conceded 5 goals and look very unsettled defensively, Despite all the negativity they managed to finish at top of their group which can be commendable.
Russia can be expected to sit back defend and play on the counter attack against a team which looks unsettled defensively. Likes of Golovin, Cheryshev and Dzyuba who have been very good at this World Cup will be key for Russia’s progress into the quarter finals.
Spain on the other hand would expect goal keeper De Gea to be back in the form, he has conceded 5 goals and managed to save only a single shot on goal which is poor for Goalkeeper of his standard. Diego Costa would be key for Spanish attack the forward can single-handedly over power some of best defences in the world and would be expected to terrorize the Russian defence. Isco who has been exceptional this competition would be another key figure in Spanish side.
Predicted Line-ups and Score-line
Spain (4-3-3) – De Gea ; Carvajal- Ramos- Pique – Alaba ; Silva- Busquets – Iniesta ; Vasque – Costa – Isco
Russia (4-2-3-1) – Akinfeev; Fernandez – Qutepov – Ignashevich – Zhikrov ; Gazinskiy – Zobonin ; Samedov – Golovin – Cheryshev ; Dzyuba
Prediction 2-1 victory for Russia