Our prediction for this match:
2018 World Cup hosts Russia take on star-studded Spain at Stadion Krestovkyi in a friendly match. The Russians aim to keep on raising their form and, no doubt, they have big ambitions for the next year’s showpiece tournament. Stanislav Cherchesov’s men are eyeing their first ever win over Spain, but seeing that La Roja impressed in the World Cup qualifiers, we are not tempted to put our money on the underdogs. Despite the fact that Catalonia declared independence, the likes of Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are still part of the Spanish national team and Julen Lopetegui’s men are eager to prove their unity and worth on the field. When the two teams met at Euro 2008 Spain crushed Russia 3-0 and we predict that the history is going to repeat itself. Diego Costa has been left out of the squad, but Alvaro Morata, who has been scoring goals for fun in the Premier League this season is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders.
Highlighted Player (Denis Cherychev):
Probably the most famous Russian footballer never to have played for a domestic club, Denis Cheryshev was born in Nizhny Novgorod, but began his career at Sporting Gijon as his father played for the Spanish side at the time. The talented winger eventually caught the eye of Real Madrid and went on to spend eight years in the youth academy at Santiago Bernabeu before he was given a chance to impress on senior level. Due to a fierce competition for places in Madrid, Cheryshev was forced to gain much needed first team experience via loan spells at Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia, and he showed a great deal of potential during those stints, proving los Blancos were wrong to let him leave. Chersyhev has been in and out of the Russia national team since making his debut in 2012, but there is a good chance he will become an important member of Sbornaya Komanda as soon as he secures regular playing time at club level. The Russian footballer is capable of operating on either wing or through the middle, and he has proved to be quite prolific in terms of both goals and assists.
Highlighted Team (Spain):
Historically, Spain have been regarded as one of top sides on international stage, but they often struggled to live up to the billing. After reaching the semi-finals at the 1950 World Cup, La Furia Roja won the European Championship trophy on home soil in 1964, but little did they know that it would remain their only trophy for another 44 years. Following some disappointing showings, Spain finally returned to the biggest stage under Vicente Del Bosque, winning three straight trophies between 2008 and 2012, before crashing out in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. La Furia Roja enjoyed plenty of success with their tiki-taka style of play, originally designed by Barcelona, with Vicente Del Bosque’s side packed with technically skilled players such as Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva. Strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa also had a major role to play in those successes, but when it comes to their famous predecessors, the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Michel, Emilio Butrageno, Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Morientes and Fernando Hierro should not be forgotten.