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Spain vs Russia team news: Iniesta, Thiago & Carvajal out as Asensio, Koke & Nacho start for La Roja against hosts

10:56 pm AEST 1/7/18
Andres Iniesta
The former Barcelona legend takes his spot in the dugout, with some fresher faces preferred in Fernando Hierro's line-up

Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantara and Dani Carvajal have been dropped to the bench for Spain's World Cup last 16 knockout clash with Russia.

Marco Asensio, Koke and Nacho have been drafted into the starting XI in what is likely to be merely a technical decision.

Iniesta's exclusion comes as something of a shock, but the former Barcelona icon's form against Morocco wasn't that of his usual dominating self.

Nacho, meanwhile, replaces Real Madrid team-mate Carvajal at right-back, with the latter also having had a sub-par performance against the Atlas Lions.

For Russia's part, the hosts look to be setting up a 3-4-3 against La Furia Roja, which signals the first time they have deviated from their 4-2-3-1 since the start of the tournament.

Aleksandr Samedov and Aleksandr Golovin will provide support for lone strike Artem Dzyuba, though will likely tuck in when Spain have possession to create a congested midfield in order to cut passing lanes.

Spain starting XI: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Koke, Busquets, Silva, Isco, Asensio, Costa.

Subs: Carvajal, Iniesta, Saul, Rodrigo, Thiago, Vazquez, Odriozola, Kepa, Azpilicueta, Monreal, Aspas, Reina.

Russia starting XI: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Kudryashov, Zhirkov, Kuzyaev, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Dzyuba.

Subs: Semenov, Cheryshev, Gazinskiy, Dzagoev, Smolov, Lunev, Granat, Aleksey Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Erokhin.