Russia's Yury Gazinsky celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates REUTERS/Carl Recine
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A World Cup last-16 match between Spain and Russia would have seemed like a woeful mismatch a month ago but Sunday's game in Moscow is now much more difficult to call thanks to the 2010 winners' underwhelming campaign and the hosts' blistering start.Russia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament, dispelled the doom and gloom by blitzing Saudi Arabia 5-0 and beating Egypt 3-1 to reach the knockout phase for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.Spain and Russia played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in a friendly last November, while their last competitive meeting came at the Euro 2008 semifinals, where the Spaniards ran out 3-0 winners.Russia's veteran defender Sergei Ignashevich is one of three surviving members of that team in the current squad, and he said his side had studied how Iran and Morocco managed to trouble Spain defensively.
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