Spain-Russia

Spain have decided their takers if Russia game goes to penalties

Spain have decided their takers if Russia game goes to penalties

JUAN FLOR

DIARIO AS

Fernando Hierro has been contemplating the possibility of a shoot-out and has had his side practicing from 12 yards just in case.

Spain are preparing for the possibility of a penalty shoot-out against Russia in the last 16 of the World Cup and interim boss Fernando Hierro has already decided which players he will call upon if the contest is to be decided from 12 yards.

Hierro had his players practicing from the spot in the run-up to Sunday's game in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium and if the teams are locked after extra time David Silva will be first up in a shoot-out. The Manchester City midfielder will be followed by Diego Costa, Isco, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta, who will be tasked with the potentially decisive fifth.

The Spain coach has also been working on extra-time strategy during the week, taking into account the new rule that allows for a fourth substitution during the added 30 minutes at the 2018 World Cup.

However, Spain are eager to avoid the prospect of extra time in the knowledge that Russia possess more physically imposing and resilient players than La Roja. Hierro's preference would be to end the affair at the final whistle.

Ramos relegated from penalty-taker in chief position

Spain and Russia last met in a friendly in Saint Petersburg in November, which finished 3-3. Jordi Alba opened the scoring in the ninth minute before Ramos added one from the spot but Russia pulled level through Smolov and Miranchuk levelled either side of the break. Ramos scored against from 12 yards to make it 3-2 but Smolov struck again 20 minutes from time. Despite Ramos' penalty-taking prowess, it appears that Hierro has decided to place his faith in other players in Russia.

Hierro will doubtless watch replays of that game to identify Russia's strong points while also working out how to tighten his side up at the back after conceding five times in the group stages - three more than during the entire 2010 tournament when Spain went on to win in South Africa.

 

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