Picking the Best Potential Spain Lineup to Play Russia on Sunday in Moscow

Spain face World Cup hosts Russia on Sunday for an intriguing last 16 tie at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The Spaniards won just one of their three group games but are expected to see off Russia, who impressed against Saudi Arabia and Egypt before getting thrashed 3-0 by Uruguay.

Here’s who is expected to take the field for Fernando Hierro’s side.

1. GK – David de Gea

There had been reports earlier in the week claiming that Hierro could look to drop De Gea but the Manchester United goalie will play after his manager confirmed he is set to start.

The 27-year-old played in each of Spain’s three group games, conceding five goals and keeping one clean sheet.

2. RB – Dani Carvajal

Seen as one of Europe’s premier right backs, Carvajal has had his injury problems previously with Real Madrid but should start for Spain as they look to assert themselves as one of the favourites for the tournament with a win against Russia.

The 26-year-old has 17 caps for his national side and is yet to score an international goal, although he did net once for the Under-21 side.

3. CB – Sergio Ramos

The evil Real Madrid defender has faced bigger challenges and better attacks than Russia’s current forward line, but Spain’s captain will still need to be at his best.

His side have been far too open during their opening games and Ramos was even involved in a major calamity when he left a ball for Iniesta only for Morroco’s Khalid Boutaib to steal possession, running through to score.

4. CB – Gerard Pique

The Barcelona defender was noticeably below par during the Morocco draw an could have been sent off for a rash, studs up challenge.

However, the 31-year-old has recently struggled with injury in training, as reported by the Mirror, and could face a race to be fit.

5. LB – Jordi Alba

Perhaps second only to Real Madrid and Brazil star Marcelo as the world’s greatest left back, Alba will start again here.

The 29-year-old is known for bombing forward and will be looking to add to the two goals and eight assists he notched during the 2017/18 La Liga season.

6. MF – Koke

The Atletico Madrid midfielder has had to bide his time on the international scene but could start on Sunday, as David Silva could miss out.

Koke could play alongside Sergio Busquets as a defensive midfielder, or as part of a three with Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta.

7. MF – Sergio Busquets

Busquets is the often uncredited link between Spain’s defence and attacking midfield, so often twisting and turning elegantly to supply those further forward with good possession.

The Barcelona midfielder should start, although he is one booking away from a suspension.

8. MF – Andres Iniesta

Football fans have already seen moments of Andres Iniesta’s immeasurable talent that have made us all sad that this is the modern legend’s final World Cup.

The 34-year-old could play on the left or through the middle, but expect the same incredible level of performance from him wherever he plays.

9. MF – Isco

The Real Madrid magician has been in good form during the World Cup so far, having established himself as one of the best playmakers in the world thanks to some glittering performances in La Liga over the past few seasons.

If Isco watched Uruguay’s 3-0 humbling of Russia, he would no doubt have been licking his lips at the prospect of facing a team lacking in defensive quality.

10. MF – Marco Asensio

Asensio has mainly had to make do with a substitute role at this World Cup, which he has had no issue making his own during his time with Real Madrid.

However, should he start tomorrow, expect an few shots from distance from the 22-year-old, and possibly a goal.

11. FW – Diego Costa

Diego Costa needs a big game if he’s to challenge the top marksmen at this tournament for the Golden Boot.

Uncharacteristically quiet during the draw with Morocco, Costa is still two goals behind England’s Harry Kane and one behind both Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Expect a good performance.