Group B Profiles - World Cup 2018

We preview the teams playing in Group B for this year's soccer world cup 2018, which includes Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Iran. Key players to watch in this group include Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, Medhi Benatia and Sardar Azmoun. Get betting and predictions here.


Iran

Iran national team

To Win Group 33/1
To Qualify From Group 11/2
FIFA Ranking 36th

How they qualified
Group A winners in Asian qualifying, going unbeaten in their 10 games to finish seven points clear of runners-up South Korea.

Pedigree
Four finals appearances in 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014 – yet to progress beyond the groups.

Coach
Carlos Queiroz – The veteran Portuguese manager has an illustrious CV which includes managerial jobs at Bafana, Portugal and Real Madrid, and two lengthy spells as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United. But this World Cup, he will be hoping to lead Iran to new heights.

Key player
Sardar Azmoun – The 23-year-old forward emerged as a scoring threat at the 2015 Asian Cup and has already tallied 23 international goals.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo, Portugal)
Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende, Belgiium), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad, Qatar), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal ), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny, Russia), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)
Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm, Russia), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens, Greece), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest, England), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiacos, Greece) Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa) Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos, Greece)
Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ, Netherlands), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa, Qatar), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan, Russia) Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen, Netherlands)

Group prediction
4th


Portugal

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo

To Win Group 2/1
To Win Tournament 25/1
FIFA Ranking 4th

How they qualified
Group B winners in European qualifying, pipping Switzerland to first on goal difference after beating the Swiss 2-0 in the final round of matches.

Pedigree
Six World Cup appearances, first reaching the finals in 1966, where they progressed to the semi-finals, losing to eventual winners England. A run to the semis in 2006 was ended by France. The Selecao have proven they have the mettle needed to win major international tournaments after they ground though the 2016 European Championship and stunned hosts France in the final.

Coach
Fernando Santos – Portugal are led by the experienced Fernando Santos, who won the European Championship title with the team.

Key player
Cristiano Ronaldo – Who else but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner – the 33-year-old has won everything there is to win in football at club level. The only thing that is missing in his trophy cabinet is the World Cup.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon).
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)

Group prediction
2nd

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Morocco

Medhi Benatia is Morocco's key player

To Win Group 16/1
To Qualify From Group 4/1
FIFA Ranking 42nd

How they qualified
Group C winners in African qualifying after beating Ivory Coast in a winner-takes-all clash on the final matchday.

Pedigree
Four finals appearances, having last qualified in 1998. Best achievement is a run to the last 16 at the 1986 World Cup.

Coach
Herve Renard – The French coach has had success with other African teams, winning the African Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012 and the Ivory Coast three years later.

Key player
Medhi Benatia – The Juventus defender netted a vital goal against the Ivory Coast in November, and has featured more than 50 times for Morocco.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia), Yassine Bounou (Girona), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)
Defenders: Medhi Benatia (Juventus), Romain Saiss (Wolves), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir), Badr Benoun (Raja Casablanca), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), Hamza Mendyl (LOSC)
Midfielders: Mbark Boussoufa (Al Jazira), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), Amine Harit (Schalke 04)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard de Liege), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax).

Group prediction
3rd

Spain

Spain celebrate a goal

To Win Group 5/10
To Win Tournament 6/1
FIFA Ranking 8th

How they qualified
Group G winners in European qualifying, taking four points from Italy to finish five clear of the four-time World Cup winners.

Pedigree
14 World Cup appearances since first featuring in 1934. Crowned world champions in 2010 after beating the Netherlands 1-0 in extra-time. Previous best was fourth place in 1950.

Coach
Julen Lopetegui – The 51-year-old former goalkeeper steered Spain through an undefeated qualifying campaign of nine wins and just one draw, including a 3-0 victory over Italy.

Key player
Andres Iniesta – The former Barcelona playmaker remains a crucial player for his national team at 34, having enjoyed a glittering career that has seen him win multiple Champions League and La Liga titles and scoring that all-important match-winning goal in extra-time in the final of the 2010 World Cup.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao), David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli)
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)

Group prediction
1st

GROUP PROFILES

Group A Team Profiles
(Egypt, Uruguay, Russia, Saudia Arabia)

Group B Team Profiles
(Spain, Portugal, Iran, Morocco)

Group C Team Profiles
(France, Peru, Denmark, Australia)

Group D Team Profiles
(Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia, Iceland)

Group E Team Profiles
(Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia)

Group F Team Profiles
(Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea) 

Group G Team Profiles
(England, Belgium, Tunisia, Panama)

Group H Team Profiles
(Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Japan)

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