Sunday 1 Jul

Spain vs Russia - Match Preview

30 Jun 2018 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL: World Cup, Knockout stage
INTERNATIONAL: World Cup, Knockout stage


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14:00 GMT
01 July 2018


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14:00 GMT 01 July 2018

Knockout football is underway at the 2018 World Cup and we have already seen two of the greatest players knocked out in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as both Argentina and Portugal were dumped out on Saturday. The hosts play their last 16 clash on Sunday and they face Spain in Moscow.


  • Spain booked their place in the second round of the tournament ahead of Portugal, Iran and Morocco in Group B. They drew with their geographical rivals in their opening group game after Ronaldo bagged a sensational hat-trick before beating Iran and drawing with Morocco. It wasn’t the most convincing of qualifications from the Spanish players, relying on a late equaliser against Morocco to top the group.
  • Russia surprised a lot of people with their performances in Group A despite their loss to Uruguay in the third match. A 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia followed by a 3-1 victory against Egypt ensured they’d be in the next round where they’ve been handed a clash they’ll be quietly confident about, especially in front of their own fans.
  • Isco has easily been Spain’s most influential player at the World Cup so far and he looks dangerous in and around the opposition penalty area.
  • Denis Cheryshev holds the same value for the tournament hosts and his three goals have given him slight hope of an outside challenge for the golden boot.


Russia won’t be able to take any confidence from their record against Spain with no wins in their six previous meetings. With four wins and two draws, the 2010 World Cup winners have a good record against the Russians, especially in major tournaments. They’ve both met at three European Championships and Spain have won on all three occasions. The most recent fixture last November finished 3-3 with two Sergio Ramos penalties being the stand-out moments.


After an underwhelming group stage, starts for Koke and Marco Asensio are expected in order to add some more flair in the attacking third.

Latest matches: Spain

25.06.2018 Worl Spain Morocco 2:2 D
20.06.2018 Worl Iran Spain 0:1 W
15.06.2018 Worl Portugal Spain 3:3 D
09.06.2018 Inte Spain Tunisia 1:0 W
03.06.2018 Inte Spain Switzerland 1:1 D


A win for Russia could set up an easier than expected run to the semi-final and final but they must beat a very strong side first. They are without Igor Smolnikov who is suspended.

Latest matches: Russia

25.06.2018 Worl Uruguay Russia 3:0 L
19.06.2018 Worl Russia Egypt 3:1 W
14.06.2018 Worl Russia Saudi Arabia 5:0 W
05.06.2018 Inte Russia Turkey 1:1 D
30.05.2018 Inte Austria Russia 1:0 L


A few months ago, this would’ve been seen as a last 16 mismatch but Russia have shown they’re not here to mess about and have a serious chance of upsetting Spain on Sunday. It is still Spain’s match to lose and they are considered as strong favourites for the clash but it won’t be as easy as many people expect, especially not with the support of a stadium full of Russian fans.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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