Russia vs. Spain (7/1 10:00 am)
Had Egypt’s Mohamed Salah fully recovered in time for this tournament, I had the Pharaohs advancing from Russia’s group. Clearly, he had not (sat out the first game and did not look his best in the other two) and so it was the hosts that progressed in place of the North Africans. However, their runner-up spot in Group A means a match with Spain – a country that won the tournament back in 2010. Advancing from the group was deemed good enough by both fans and pundits alike, but it is the end of the road for the host nation. Russia will have its collective hands full dealing with Diego Costa, Spain’s strong striker who has already bagged some goals this World Cup. Factor in a wealth of quality (albeit some aging) and la Roja are sure to win by at least three goals.
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