Spain – Russia

It’s time in our winning soccer predictions to examine the World Cup 1/8-final game between the 2010 champion Spain and the host of the competition Russia. Let’s take a look.

Spain are trying to get back on the winning ways at major tournaments. This team dominated football between 2008 and 2012, but in 2014 and 2016 Spain didn’t perform very well. Now La Roja are ready to return among the best teams in the world. With a healthy mixture between experienced and young players, Spain are looking ready to triumph again. And their first obstacle in the World Cup eliminations is Russia.

Sbornaya managed to do the minimum what was expected of them – to reach the knockout phase of the tournament. Russia scored the impressive 8 goals against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, winning their first two games in the competition. Afterwards they didn’t do very well against Uruguay, losing with 0-3 their first major test in the tournament. We shall remind that the Russian team recieved a red card in this game, but for them it’s worrying that they were dominated like this by La Celeste. For them it won’t be easier against Spain – that’s for sure.

Spain won just one of their three games in the group stage – against Iran, while doing draws against Portugal and Morocco. Despite of winning just once in the group, the Iberians won the group. They scored 6 goals in the group stage, but also conceded five, which is not speaking well of their performance in defense. They have two of the best central defenders in the world – Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, but they are still having some difficulties. Meanwhile 3 of their 6 goals in the group stage were scored by Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa. The Russian defenders shall be very careful with the former Chelsea man. He’s absolutely deadly in front of goal.

Aleksandar Golovin is the most interesting man in Russia’s side. It’s highly speculated that he’s going to sign with Chelsea after the World Cup. Golovin is a very talented midfielder, being called “the Russian Iniesta”. His job against Spain will be to make creative decisions and bring some ideas on the pitch. Denis Cheryshev is another player Spain have to be careful about. Villarreal’s ace have scored 3 goals in the competition so far.

Russia’s problems are linked to the suspension of the defender Igor Smolnikov, who got sent off against Uruguay. Meanwhile CSKA Moscow’s Alan Dzagoev returned to training after recieving an injury in the opening game against Saudi Arabia half a month ago.

Spain’s midfielder Thiago Alcantara admitted that Spain are not playing their best football at the moment. When the former coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked just one day before the start of the World Cup, many people feared that this could mean problems for La Roja. It looks like the players are still trying to adapt to what happened. Lopetegui was doing really well with the job, so for the players it was a huge shock as well.

These are our winning soccer predictions for the World Cup 1/8-final game between Spain and Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Arguably Spain are the big favourite here. They have a lot better team than Russia, filled with great individuals. But in same time, we shall not underrestimate the host of the tournament. Russia will play with a lot of energy and desire, backed by the fans on the stands. For them this is a big moment, so we expect to see them giving their all on the pitch. We don’t have any doubts about that.