Kathmandu 01 July, 2018 – As the knockout rounds of FIFA world cup started today in Russia, in its first match between host nation Russia and Spain played over 120 minutes of hustle and bustle of football and they both scored same 1 – 1 goal. As they had extra time of 30 min played, the score remain the same and their fate has been decided by penalty shootout and Host nation clinch to the semi final by 4 goal to 3.
Russia pulled of surprise result on Sunday evening when they defeated Spain in the round of 16 tie on penalties. Spain were poor to say the least in the normal time and allotted extra time and even with all the possession in the world they could not do much with it. Russia had to come from behind to draw level 1-1 and took the game to penalties.
Spain and Russia played out a marathon of game tie in Round of 16 as it went all the way to penalties where Spain finally won the game and made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament. However it started all wrong for Russia when Sergei Ignashevich scored a bizarre goal really but Artem Dzyuba equalized for Russia from penalty spot. After that neither team looked like scoring and we went all the way to penalties where Russia scored all their penalties while Koke and Aspas missed theirs.
Hosts Russia are set to take on Spain in the first knockout round of 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, 01 July 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Spain qualified as group winners while Russia’s loss against Uruguay meant they finished runners-up in group A. Russia won their opening two games convincingly while Spain could only muster up a narrow 1-0 win over Iran while drawing their other two matches conceding 5 in the process. This Spanish side don’t have the ruthless nature of previous Spanish sides and Russia will fancy their chances against Spain on Sunday.
Watch The Match Highlights:
Russia vs Spain Preview: This one should be a straight forward fixture to predict on paper however this World Cup has produced so many surprises already and combine that with this Spanish side not looking a patch on that 2010 champions but more like 2014 Spanish side who got dumped out of the group stages. They started stronger with that famous 3-3 draw against Portugal but since a their performances have been unconvincing in narrow 1-0 win over Iran and unconvincing 2-2 draw against Morocco.
Russia on the other had produced two superb performances against Saudi Arabia and Egypt but Uruguay humbled their in last game 3-0 where Russia looked really poor to say the least. However, they made several changes in their last game having already qualified after first two matches. So a full strength Russia side will surely give Spain problems in this tie.
Team News & Possible Lineups: After couple of poor performances Spanish team is likely to make couple of big changes in the starting lineup with Koke expected to start in place of Thiago Alcantara while Marco Asensio is also expected to replace either David Silva or Iniesta in the starting lineup. David De Gea will still keep the goal and has full backing of team mates and his coach.
Russia on the other hand will be without Igor Smolnikov and Mario Fernandez slots in while duo of Yuri Zhirkov and Golovin will be starting after being benched against Uruguay.
Match Predictions: Russia side will have major home advantage and they can be hard team to play against. While Spain must raise their game after couple of poor performances and this is one game were I can see surprise result on Sunday. Spanish side are playing without their usual rythem and players like Iniesta, David Silva are failing to control the midfield so far. So unless Spain improve drastically, I can see Russia pulling off a surprise in this one.