Match Date: 1st July 2018
Kick Off Time: 15:00 (GMT)
Stadium: Luzhniki StadiumTV: BBC One
As the group stages come to a close this week, it's time to look at how the Round of 16 matches may pan out and who are the best teams to back to progress to the quarterfinals.
The second set of Round of 16 matches will commence on the 1st of July, and one of these matches is now confirmed as Spain vs Russia.
This match will be played in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and it's sure to be a tense and exciting match given that Spain are one of the favourite teams to win the tournament outright and Russia are this year's host team.
Spain have reached this stage in the World Cup 2018 by finishing first in Group B, whilst Russia narrowly missed the top position in Group A to Uruguay. At the moment, the odds look to be definitely in Spain's favour, but that isn't to say it's not all still to play for.
Read on to learn more about each team's form in the World Cup 2018 so far, how this has impacted the betting odds, and our expert betting tips for this Round of 16 match.
Betting Tips for Spain vs Russia
As we've just mentioned, Spain are the current favourites to win this match and in our opinion, there's no going against the bookies on this one. Here's how the current average odds on the match stack up:
- Spain to Win: 8/13
- Russia to Win: 24/5
- Draw (Before Extra-Time and Penalties): 29/10
Whilst the odds on Spain aren't, therefore, worth betting on, in our expert opinion it would be foolish to back the host nation in this match. Instead, we'd suggest placing a wager on the score results for this match or on other specialized bets such as which players will score or which players may receive a booking.
Read on to find out more betting tips for these markets, and the statistics which back them up.
Head to Head Statistics
Before we continue to our match predictions for Spain vs Russia in the World Cup 2018, we'll first take a look at both teams' current form. In the table below you can find the results of each team's last five matches.
In addition, to look at the stats for each team this World Cup 2018, we can also look at how the teams have fared in their last five meetings with each other:
|14 Nov 2017||Russia vs Spain||Draw||3-3||International Friendly|
|26 Jun 2008||Russia vs Spain||Win to Spain||0-3||UEFA Euros|
|10 Jun 2008||Russia vs Spain||Win to Spain||1-4||UEFA Euros|
|27 May 2006||Spain vs Russia||Draw||0-0||International Friendly|
|12 June 2004||Spain vs Russia||Win to Spain||1-0||UEFA Euros|
Our Match Predictions for Spain vs Russia
As the statistics above show, Spain performed just well enough to finish their group stage in top position. However, although they have dominated possession in each match, they have lacked a bit of strength defensively.
This is the reason why they have conceded five goals in the tournament, and this could be their weak spot against Russia.
On the other hand, Russia have been impressive this World Cup, beating both Saudi Arabia and Egypt by a considerable amount. However when faced against Uruguay, who are co7/1 considered a better team than Russia's two other opponents but not as good as Spain, they suffered a 3-0 defeat. This was due to Uruguay's strong attacking strategies and if Spain employed similar tactics they could easily beat Russia by a large number of goals.
As we've mentioned already, we think going against the bookies would be a risky move in this match, in terms of who will be the winner. That being said there are many UK bookmakers offering some very interesting, and lucrative, options on this match.
Our expert opinion is that Spain will win this match, but not as comfortably as they may expect. This is why whilst average odds of 7/1 of their being a total of four goals may sound appealing, we think it'd be much more profitable to back Spain to have a routine 1-0 or 2-0 win.
Odds on these totals of goals stand at more respective averages of 16/5 and 23/10 respectively, but we do think these results are more likely.
Here are some of our other favourite wagers to back on this match:
- Spain to Win by One Goal: 12/5
- Spain to Win by Two Goals: 7/2
- Spain to Win to Nil: 11/8
- Spain to Win 2-0: 11/2
Who Will Score For Spain?
It's likely that Spain's stand-in manager Fernando Hierro will pick a similar starting lineup when playing Russia in the round of 16.
The only change we can see as a possibility is for Hierro to start Iago Aspas, but given that the current formation and starting eleven has been working well so far, we think Hierro may keep Aspas on the bench for another match.
Expected Spain Line-Up:
Goalkeeper: De Gea
Defenders: Carvajal, Piqué, Ramos, Jordi Alba
Midfielders: Thiago, Busquests, Iniesta
Forwards: Silva, Costa, Isco
After scoring in their match against Morocco, both Iago Aspas and Isco are looking very likely of repeating their successes against Russia.
Isco, who scored the first goal against Morocco, has now racked up ten international goals in his last 15 international matches and assisted with two. He is also attracting much praise from the media at the moment, and his chances of bagging a Golden Ball prize this tournament are also looking good.
Although Hierro is yet to start Aspas in this World Cup, his goal against Morocco means that he's now racked up six goals in his last ten international appearances off the bench. Aspas has also made four assists, which shows his ability to be in the right place at the right time.
- Isco to Score Anytime Against Russia: 9/5
- Aspas to Score Anytime Against Russia: 6/4
Who Will Score For Russia?
After their match with Egypt, Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov made three changes to his starting eleven, yet none of these changes really proved their worth.
This has us believing that Cherchesov may return to the line-up he played against Eygpt at the start of the competition.
Expected Spain Line-Up:
Defenders: Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov
Midfielders: Gazinskiy, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev
Although it's unlikely he will start for Russia in this match, Fydor Smolov may be the man to watch. Not only did he score in Russia's last match against Spain back in November, but he also has an impressive international record, having scored 12 goals for his international team since his debut.
Dzyuba is another top forward to look out for from the Russian side. He has already scored two goals in this World Cup and made one assist, and this should put him in good stead against La Roja.
- Smolov to Score Anytime Against Spain: 5/2
- Dzyuba to Score Anytime Against Spain: 5/2
Will There Be a Penalty or Red Cards?
To put it bluntly, yes, both are looking likely! Penalties have gathered much attention this World Cup 2018 and, in fact, 22 have been given out already in the tournament.
This is a record number of penalties in any World Cup and it's likely that the use of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) has contributed to the increased number. Moreover, both Spain and Russia will be fighting tooth and nail to make sure they reach the quarter-finals. This will result in a tense match and we could definitely see some yellow, or red, bookings.
Hotheads like Sergio Ramos and Busquets will have to keep their cool on the Spanish side, which is definitely easier said than done in such an important match.
Contrastingly, the Russians will have surely been disciplined and warned to not chance any bookings, as in their match against Uruguay a red-card left them one man down and, ultimately, could have been the reason why they lost.