2018 Spain vs Russia
8 Koke (Atletico Madrid)
15 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
18 Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
19 Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
20 Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
21 David Silva (Manchester City)
22 Isco (Real Madrid)
The ‘Easy’ Side of the Bracket
This is considered to be the easier side of the bracket. The winner would face the Croatia vs. Denmark winner, and the most dangerous team lurking for a hypothetical semifinal matchup would be … England? Colombia? Pretournament favorites like Brazil, Argentina and France are all on the other side of the bracket.
Spain vs. Russia Top Story Lines
• Spain’s attack is just fine — only four teams scored more goals in the group stage than Spain’s six. It is their defense that is the problem, as the five goals they’ve conceded is tied for the most of any team that advanced to the knockout round. Statistics site WhoScored named both David de Gea and Sergio Ramos flops of the group stage.
• Spain won Group B on the back of three shaky performances, drawing Portugal and Morocco, and beating Iran 1-0 in unconvincing fashion.
• Russia was flying high through their first two group stage matches, with two victories and eight goals. Then they got pummeled 3-0 by Uruguay, and everybody remembered their opponents, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, weren’t exactly heavyweights. Still, qualifying for the knockout round for the first time since the days of the Soviet Union is a good achievement for the host nation.
• Both Diego Costa and Cheryshev are outside contenders for the Golden Boot, with three goals apiece. They’ll have to overtake England’s Harry Kane, who has five.
• Diego Costa, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva, Isco and Sergio Busquets started in each of Spain’s group stage matches, but the final midfield spot is up for grabs, with Koke, Lucas Vazquez and Thiago each having started in one. Who will manager Fernando Hierro start against Russia?
• Yesterday’s matches combined for 10 goals, the most on a single day of a knockout round since 1970. Let’s hope there are even more today.