Russia vs. Spain
|Date & Time||Sunday July 1, 2018, 10:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Spain -155 / Russia +550 / Draw +282 -- Over/Under: 2.5
Spain and Russia meet Sunday in World Cup soccer action at Luzhniki Stadium.
Spain wasn’t the cleanest team in the world to make it out of the group stages, but advancing is advancing. Spain couldn’t put away a one-man team in Portugal, barely beat Iran in a controversial match and just squeaked by Morocco in another draw. Spain has dominated the possession arrow in all three games and has gotten many quality looks offensively, so the results could be different, but you kind of expected a bit more from the Red Fury. Either way, Spain is a very experienced team that knows how to grind matches out when things aren’t going as expected. Spain also hasn’t lost a match since the 2016 UEFA Euro, and the last time this club made it out of the group stages of the World Cup, it was crowned champions. There’s a lot to be optimistic about with this side, but this team must play better overall if this is going to be a deeper tournament run.
Russia ended its group stages with a thud to Uruguay, 0-3, but advancing to the knockout stages is a win in itself. Nobody expected much from Russia in this tournament, as the defense was downright awful and many had this group being one of the worst in Russian history. Russia quieted those critics down rather quickly by defeating Saudi Arabia and Egypt by a combined score of 8-1. Now, the Russians accomplished absolutely nothing in its last match and watched Igor Smolnikov get sent off, but this team has shown it can be explosive offensively and can play to the crowd when the confidence is flowing. Russia obviously has to show more before anybody picks this team to hang with the big boys, but this clearly isn’t a squad you want to take lightly, especially in the knockout stages. There’s something to be said about a Russia side that has scored three or more goals in three of its last eight matches.
These two teams just met in a friendly match back in November, and it resulted in a 3-3 draw. Sergio Ramos Garcia scored twice on penalty kicks and Fyodor Mikhaylovich Smolov forced the draw with a late second half goal.
Spain is in the knockout stages and has yet to play its best, while Russia played out of its mind early and likely peaked too soon. There’s not another gear Russia can hit and it was downright terrible in its last showing. The honeymoon stages are over for Russia and this is the point in the tournament where talent usually takes over. The crowd can only carry a team so far. Spain is experienced and has the edge nearly everywhere you look.
The price isn’t too steep. Give me the Spaniards to advance.