In the latest Spain news, captain Sergio Ramos says his side need to “change the current mood” and start improving on their performances if World Cup glory is to be achieved.
Spain, who lifted the trophy in 2010, have looked far from their best in Russia but they have managed to qualify for the last-16 stage of the tournament after finishing top of Group B.
La Furia Roja only won one game – a 1-0 victory over Iran – but Monday’s 2-2 draw with Morocco, coupled with Portugal’s 1-1 draw against Team Melli, was enough to see Fernando Hierro’s men clinch top spot.
The European powerhouse will now take on the hosts in the next round and Spain are firm 8/13 favourites with bet365 to win Sunday’s contest, a draw is priced at 29/10 whilst Russia, who lost 3-0 to Uruguay last time out, are the 11/2 outsiders.
It has been a strange tournament for the Spaniards’ so far, having sacked manager Julen Lopetegui days before the event started, and Ramos admits the whole mood within the camp needs to pick up quickly.
“We must change the current mood as soon as possible,” Marca quotes the defender as saying. “It was important to progress from the group so not everything is as bad as some people might say but the performance was not what it should be.
“We have a lot of attacking threat but in defence we must be more careful as that has cost us so far, we must reduce the margin of error because from now on, if we perform poorly we are out.”
Hierro could be tempted into changes for Sunday’s outing, with the likes of Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Cesar Azpilicueta, Saul Niguez and Koke all pushing for starts.