Spain has gotten a fantastic draw. If the chalk had held up, they would have played Argentina and Germany on their march to the final, but Argentina finished in second place in the group and Germany was unable to make it out of the Group Stage. That has set the bracket up nicely for La Roja who would play the winner of Denmark and Croatia in the Quarterfinals if they do advance over Russia here. You can’t count the Russians out here since they are playing on their home turf though.
The most anticipated sporting event in the world comes around once every four years, so don’t miss any of the 2018 World Cup. This match will take place at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 1, 2018. Catch every moment of the match live on FOX.
World Cup Group Stage Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Over/Under 2 and 2.5
Through their first two matches, Russia was the surprise of the World Cup. Many observers, including yours truly, expected Egypt to make it out of the group ahead of Russia, but Russia instead dominated their first two opponents. They hammered Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their opener and followed that up with a 3-1 win over Egypt in their next match.
Russia fell back down to Earth their last time on the pitch though. They were unable to do much of anything against Uruguay in their final Group Stage game. The defense was suspect, as they gave up two goals and a number of chances through the first half of the first half, and then their chances of winning the group evaporated after an Igor Smolnikov red card. The silver lining is that put them on the easier side of the bracket, but first they have to find a way to get past Spain.
La Roja played the match of the tournament so far in their opener. Spain and Portugal were involved in a 3-3 thriller that had it all. Diego Costa netted two for Spain in the game, but a David De Gea blunder proved costly for the Spanish side, not letting them grab the full three points.
Still, Spain was able to win the group through a little bit of luck and a clutch performance. They beat Iran 1-0 in their next match, but then needed to level twice against Morocco in order to ensure their spot in the knockout rounds. Isco did it first in the 19th minute, but the hero of the day was Iago Aspas, who scored in extra time to earn a 2-2 draw for Spain.
Player to Watch
Isco has been a joy to watch for Spain. He had a somewhat shaky season at Real Madrid where he was criticized constantly for his performances, but he has always seemed to play his best football for Spain.
Although Diego Costa leads Spain with three goals in three matches, Isco has been sharp each time out. He didn’t score until the most recent match, but his presence has been felt with pinpoint passes and thunderous shots off the post. There is a lot of flash to his game, and he is capable of stunning Russia early.
Matchup to Watch
Russia may be able to have some success against Spain’s back line. Center backs Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have struggled to find their form at this World Cup, with Ramos being beaten in the air for a goal against Morocco.
That’s not good news for Spanish fans. The one way Russia can score is off of set pieces or crosses due to their considerable height advantage, so defenses must be able to defend those well. That could lead to a good day for Artem Dzyuba.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
The over is the play to make in this one. All three of Russia’s matches have gone over the total at the World Cup, while two of Spain’s three matches have gone over. These two teams should be able to attack the other effectively throughout the match.
World Cup Round of 16 Odds: Spain 3, Russia 1
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