The first day of July features two World Cup knockout round games, starting with Spain, a favorite of many to win the tournament, taking on home side Russia. According to MyBookie Sportsbook, the Spaniards are solid betting favorites to reach the quarterfinals against either Croatia or Denmark.
Spain v Russia 2018 World Cup Betting Prediction for Round of 16
— Сборная России (@TeamRussia) 27 de junio de 2018
- When: Sunday, 10 AM ET
- Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
- TV/Stream: Fox/Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Betting Odds: Spain -159 / Russia +460 / Draw +255 (Total 2.5)
Why Bet on Spain?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Fernando Hierro
- Captain: Sergio Ramos
- FIFA Ranking: 10
- World Cup Appearances: 15
The Spaniards won a tiebreaker with Portugal to take Group B with five points despite just one victory. They closed the group action with a 2-2 draw against Morocco. Iran’s last-minute leveler against Portugal, paired with Iago Aspas’ stoppage-time equalizer for Spain, helped by VAR, gave Spain the group and this matchup on Sunday, while Portugal faces Uruguay on Saturday in Sochi.
With the score tied 1-1 with 16 minutes to go, Spain coach Fernando Hierro made a move that outwardly looked counterintuitive. He made a double switch that included bringing off forward Diego Costa and replacing him with Aspas. Costa has already bagged three goals in this World Cup. Hierro made one change to his Spain starting lineup from the previous match, bringing in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara for Lucas Vazquez.
Spain is the first team to win its group with five or fewer points since the United States and Paraguay in 2010 when La Roja finished as eventual champions.
“Obviously we can improve, there are things that definitely need to be worked on, and we will definitely be self-critical. Five goals in three matches are not the way forward, I’ve told the players that. But they are professionals and understand,” Hierro said.
Aspas’ goal record for his country is remarkable. In just two starts (and 382 minutes in total), he has scored six times — one for every hour he has played. If you add his four assists, he’s responsible for a Spain goal every 38 minutes.
Sergio Ramos made his 16th appearance for Spain at the World Cup in this game, overtaking Xavi as their most capped outfielder in the competition. Spain remains unbeaten in 23 matches (W15 D8) since losing to Italy at Euro 2016. Spain has failed to win their final group game of a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1982, having won each of the previous eight such games before the draw vs. Morocco.
Two weeks ago, Hierro thought he would be enjoying the World Cup as technical director for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). But he was called in as the coach when Julen Lopetegui was dismissed June 13 — just two days before Spain’s first game at the World Cup — after it was revealed that he had signed a contract with Real Madrid to take over as their next manager after the tournament.
Fortunate to qualify for the last 16 in the first place, Spain has conceded five goals at the World Cup – three against Portugal, two against Morocco – and it might have been more had Iran taken their chances in the second game in Kazan. In their fragility, Spain looks very different to the team who went through the knockout rounds of Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 without conceding. This time, Spain have not looked like a great team, certainly not defensively.
While Spain’s players have been careful to draw a line under the dramatic unfolding of events on the eve of the tournament when Lopetegui was sacked, the upheaval cannot have helped. Lopetegui’s sacking briefly threw the Spanish camp into chaos and made many pundits question whether La Roja could overcome the circumstances and forge ahead as expected.
“I have told the players that five goals conceded in two games is not the way: in this game, we did all the good things and all the bad things too,” said Hierro.
- 1-David de Gea
- 15-Sergio Ramos
- 3-Gerard Piqué
- 18-Jordi Alba
- 2-Daniel Carvajal
- 6-Andrés Iniesta
- 21-David Silva
- 5-Sergio Busquets
- 22-Isco Alarcón
- 11-Lucas Vázquez
- 19-Diego Costa
Why Bet on Russia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Stanislav Cherchesov
- Captain: Igor Akinfeev
- FIFA Ranking: 70
- World Cup Appearances: 11
Russia finished second to Uruguay in Group A as the Russians lost 3-0 to Uruguay in the final match of the group stage. Both sides had already qualified for the last 16 so it didn’t appear as if Russia cared all that much. Having comfortably beaten Saudi Arabia (5-0) and Egypt (3-1), Russia wasn’t even close to passing the test against an opposition of a higher level. After scoring eight goals against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Russia managed only one shot on goal against a quality opponent.
Russia made three changes with Mario Fernandes, Yuri Zhirkov and Aleksandr Golovin all rested. Fyodor Kudriashov, Aleksey Miranchuk and Igor Smolnikov replacing them. Russia is the first European side to fail to top their group as the host nation since Spain in 1982. Russia is now winless in each of their six World Cup matches in which they have conceded the first goal (D1 L5).
Coach Stanislav Cherchesov was disappointed after his team conceded all three goals in their loss to Uruguay. After an early Luis Suarez free kick, Russia gave away two goals from corners as the hosts failed to secure top spot in Group A.
“In our training sessions we played against these set pieces, and vs. Uruguay our opponents scored from set pieces. We wanted to stop this but we could not succeed,” the coach said. “Training sessions are one thing and then on the pitch is another thing. It is an art to be prepared and not just think you are prepared.”
Russia’s Denis Cheryshev’s scored the sixth own goal at this year’s tournament, the joint-most number of own goals at a single World Cup (also six in 1998). Russian defender Igor Smolnikov became the first outfield player to be sent off for the host nation of a World Cup since Marcel Desailly for France against Brazil in 1998 final.
Spain and Russia played in a 3-3 draw in November 2017, but the 2010 World Cup Champions have the better over Russia in tournament football, beating them 4-1 and 3-0 in the 2008 European Championship. As hosts, Russia will have the majority of the crowd behind them, but it would be a shock for them to win here.
Although, Russia could cause problems because Spain’s David De Gea has allowed five goals in three group games. Some speculate that De Gea could be replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga for the vital last 16 game against the hosts. Also, Spain full-back Daniel Carvajal is still searching for fitness after his hamstring injury in the Champions League final.
- 1-I. Akinfeev
- 4-S. Ignashevich
- 2-M. Fernandes
- 3-I. Kutepov
- 18-Y. Zhirkov
- 19-A. Samedov
- 9-A. Dzagoev
- 8-Y. Gazinskiy
- 11-R. Zobnin
- 17-A. Golovin
- 10-F. Smolov
Expert Final Score Prediction
Spain 2 – Russia 1