KATHMANDU, July 1: The 2010 World Cup winner, Spain will play against host Russia at 7:45 Nepali time at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Here's the pre-match analysis of the game.
Spain have been a mixed bag so far at the tournament, while still being arguably the strongest side in Russia. They put on a very strong second half display in the thrilling 3-3 opener with Portugal, bar a few mistakes from individuals in the first half. Spain's second game v Iran was a tough test against a seriously stubborn defense, they scraped through with a 1-0 win, which was probably a fair result based on the game. The final group game against Morocco was filled with sloppiness and errors, although they just had enough quality to finish top, rescuing a late 2-2 draw.
Spain have been very hot and cold thus far. While having so much individual quality all over the pitch, they still seem complacent and shaky at the back, there's been mistakes from numerous players, David de Gea most notably, Gerard Pique, and a mix-up between Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta in the final game.
Russia started off very strong in front of their home crowd. They brushed aside Saudi Arabia 5-0, with great performances from Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Cheryshev. Russia then followed up with a strong performance knocking out Egypt, 3-1, only conceding to a late penalty from Mohamed Salah.
The real test came when they face Uruguay, which their team spirit fell apart, Russia went 2-0 down early on in the match, then defender Igor Smolnikov also was red carded. They limped into second place in the group, the stern test facing the Uruguayans seemed a step too far.