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Morocco vs Iran - Preview - World Cup 2018

Morocco take on Iran in Group B
Morocco are mentored by a highly-rated man who has enjoyed success with various African national teams in Herve Renard and he has proved his worth once again by helping them qualify for their first World Cup in 20 years! The French tactician is up against a Portuguese Mozambican mastermind in Carlos Queiroz who’s leaving the Iranian national team after the World Cup after rejecting a contract extension offer. I think its right to call this one the battle of tactics!


FIFA World Cup 
Group B
Morocco vs Iran 
Friday 15 June  
Saint Petersburg Stadium

To Win 
Morocco 27/20
Draw 37/20
Iran 24/10


To qualify for their first World Cup since 1998, Morocco had to beat good teams such as Ivory Coast, Mali, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea which shows how good coach Herve Renard is. The French manager won the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia and Ivory Coast respectively. Most of Morocco’s players are based in different European countries but they have gelled so well as a team and on their day, they can trouble anyone.

They had a modest 2017 AFCON run where they played exciting football but were knocked out in the last eight by would be runners-up, Egypt who beat them 1-0.

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Team Melli will be playing their last tournament under the tutelage of Carlos Queiroz who has been in charge of them since 2011 as he rejected a contract extension offer which could have kept him at the helm until January 2019’s Asian Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates. The former Bafana Bafana, Real Madrid and Portugal coach is the first manager in history to reach back-to-back World Cups with Iran and that consistency can trouble the Moroccans.

The teams have never played against each other before and the new chapter of potential rivalry is a tantalising prospect. In the 2014 campaign, the Iranians were winless as they lost two and drew one of their three group stage games and they will be hoping to change that against one of the minnows of their group.

Iran’s preparations for the tournament weren’t plain sailing as two of their recent friendlies where they were supposed to play Turkey and Greece were called off due to “last minute impossible demands made by these countries”. Their only friendly that would go on just before the tournament would be on 8 June against Lithuania which might not be a weaker test than they wanted.

Probable line-ups:

Morocco: 4-2-3-1
El Kajoui; Da Costa, Benatia, Saiss; Mendyl, El Ahmadi, Boussoufa, N. Amrabat; Belhanda, Boutaib, Ziyech.

Iran: 4-2-3-1
Beiravand; Rezaeian, Cheshmi, Khanzadeh, Mohammadi; Karimi, Hajsafi; Ansarifard, Masoud, Amiri; Ghochannejhad.

Prediction: Iran Win (24/10)
Morocco are on the rise and they look right on course to be one of African’s powerhouses but Iran’s consistency and experience at this stage in recent years will see them triumh. I would like Renard’s troops to live up to their favourites tag but I don’t see it happening.

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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