On Sunday (3pm), Spain play the hosts for the right to face either Croatia or Denmark.
This’ll be the first competitive meeting between the sides since the Euro 2008 semis finals. A 3-0 for La Roja saw them cruise to the final. Russia will be out for revenge…
Russia came through to this stage having dismantled Saudi Arabia 5-0, and comprehensively beaten Egypt 3-1 before being found out by Uruguay as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat.
Spain qualified for the next round with a entertaining 3-3 draw against Portugal, a one-goal win over Iran, and another draw (2-2) against Morocco. They finished top of their group by virtue of goal difference.
Russia will have a fully-fit squad, with no fresh injury worries, and that includes Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Erokhin even though both have previous injury worries (none too serious however).
Its also good news for Spain as their don’t have anything to worry about in terms of injuries either.
Both sides have goal threats in the form of Denis Cheryshev, and Diego Costa, with both scoring three goal apiece, so that’s something to lookout for.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s side got picked apart against Uruguay last time out, whilst Fernando Hierro’s have had an unusual leaky defence, having conceded five in three. Spain know they’ll have tighten up their defending if they’re to reach the last eight.
As for Russia, having come up against a REAL quality of opponent last time out, they once against come up against an opponent of similar pedigree to their last match.
Neither of the two previous knockout matches have gone to extra-time, and I wouldn’t expect this one to finish in different fashion. Having said that, should this match do so, it’ll be rather interesting…
Ok, time to stop waffling, and name the side who’ll come out on top. I’ve got to go with Spain, given that Russia weren’t able to handle a La Liga- influenced side last time and I highly doubt they’ll be able to do so this time. But then again, we’ve already seen shocks with Germany bowing out at the group stage, so don’t completely rule out another shock!