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World Cup Bracket 2018: Predictions, Odds and Picks Entering Sunday Play

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2018

TOPSHOT - Spain's midfielder Isco (2ndL) celebrates with (fromL) Spain's defender Sergio Ramos, Spain's defender Jordi Alba and Spain's defender Gerard Pique after scoring their first goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Spain and Morocco at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 25, 2018. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

Four more teams will be vying for quarter-final places at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, when Spain take on hosts Russia and Croatia play Denmark.

Russia came second in Group A, while Spain topped Group B. Croatia finished top of Group D to set up a match with Group C runners-up Denmark.

OddsShark shared the latest odds for the fixtures, and here are some score predictions too:

  • Spain (16-25), Draw (11-4), Russia (22-5): 3-1
  • Croatia (43-50), Draw (9-4), Denmark (7-2): 2-0

                                       

Spain have been uncharacteristically shaky at the back throughout the tournament.

Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet is difficult job at the best of times, but it was of little surprise they conceded three goals against Portugal—all scored by the main man himself—given the way they defended.

Nacho was careless in his attempt to tackle Ronaldo that resulted in a fourth-minute penalty. David De Gea let what should have been a routine stop squirm past him. And Gerard Pique took a leaf out of Nacho's book when he gave Ronaldo the chance to take a free-kick from 25 yards out in the 88th minute.

They were rarely tested by Iran, but even Morocco caused them problems, scoring twice. Squawka's Muhammad Butt noted La Roja's struggles:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

Carvajal is so out of position that Piqué is moving out of position to cover and it's wrecking the whole line. idk why Azpilicueta or Nacho aren't starting. https://t.co/imE8G7cG4Z

It will give hope to Russia that they may be able to upset the odds here. At the very least, it wouldn't be surprising if they get on the scoresheet.

Spain should still have the edge because of their attacking and creative prowess, though.

Diego Costa has netted three times, while behind him Isco has stood out even alongside Andres Iniesta and David Silva.

Per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan, the Real Madrid playmaker deserved his goal against Morocco:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Isco had topped Spain's stats for passes, runs with ball, and ball recoveries before today - just lacked a goal...

Remarkably, he is making his first appearance at a senior international tournament. He has emerged as a key player for his country over the past 18 months:

OptaJose @OptaJose

9 - Isco Alarcon has scored more goals for Spain than any other player since the start of 2017 (nine goals). Stellar. #ESP #MAR #ESPMAR #WorldCup https://t.co/a6F4k3CaP7

Iago Aspas—whose clever, last-minute backheel flick salvaged a point against Morocco—is another excellent option, having averaged a goal or an assist every 34 minutes for La Roja.

Their variety of attacking options should make up for their shortcomings at the back, particularly against a Russia side that did not convince in a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay last time out.

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