David de Gea will start Spain's Round of 16 encounter with Russia on Sunday afternoon, as has been confirmed by national team boss Fernando Hierro. The Manchester United stopper has come under heavy criticism for his displays this summer, but appears to have the backing of his manager.
It was in the first half of the very first match of Spain's tournament when questions were first being asked of de Gea. His error in stopping a simple shot from Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo was a contributing factor to his side's 3-3 draw on the night, and since then the 27-year-old has come under a lot of fire.
However, his manager seems to have no worries over the keeper's form, and will start him against host nation Russia on Sunday, in hopes of progressing to the quarter final.
Speaking to Radio Nacional, Hierro confirmed "de Gea will play", knowing full well that on his day, the United keeper could realistically be considered the best number one on the planet.
As far as hints towards team selection go, Hierro's assessment of striker Diego Costa - who scored a brace against Portgual on the same night as de Gea's costly mistake - means that we are likely to see the Atletico Madrid forward also start against Russia.
"Costa has played all three games from the start and has scored three goals," Hierro said. "That should answer your question."
Costa has impressed this summer. Undoubtedly the country's best option in attack, the tenacious striker has the ability to wreak havoc single handedly against defences, and Costa has proven already during the World Cup that he can pull defences apart on his own.