Spain vs Morocco - Preview - World Cup 2018


From Morocco’s perspective, this match is a dead rubber as they were the first team to crash out of the World Cup while Spain haven’t mathematically secured Last 16 qualification. The Atlas Lions haven’t scored a single goal in the tournament so far while Fernando Hierro’s men are tied with Portugal on four points at the summit of the standings.

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FIFA World Cup
Spain vs Morocco    
Group B
Monday 25 June 
Kaliningrad Stadium   
20:00

To Win
Spain 4/10
Draw 36/10
Morocco 7/1

Spain 

The only way the Spaniards can miss out on Last 16 qualification is by losing this match heavily with Iran beating Portugal by a smaller margin. At this point, the situation favours them but they mustn't rest on their laurels against a side that only has pride at stake. 

Diego Costa has been impressive this campaign and it was his solitary goal that earned them a 1-0 win over Iran last week. The Atletico Madrid marksman netted twice in the opener against Portugal and I’m expecting him to fight tooth and nail to catch up with Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku, who are currently on four goals each, and the leading scorer Harry Kane, who is on five goals.

One of the things Spain has had to deal with in recent years is teams applying a low defensive block against them to counter their possession-based games and we saw Iran nearly succeeding at keeping La Roja at bay and they must expect the same tactics against Morocco.

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Morocco

Morocco’s record at the current tournament is not a true reflection of their performances as they work their socks off and show signs of being a well-drilled side, but finding the back of the net has been their biggest downfall. Herve Renard’s men lost 1-0 against both Iran and Portugal and both goals were conceded from set-pieces.

This might be a dead rubber for them but their French mentor has clearly stated that he wants his team to bow out in a respectable manner. “We will finish against Spain and we will try to finish with flying colours. It is unjust we are already out before these third matches, but we have to accept reality and concentrate on this third game and to save our honour since this is all that is left to us.

"We have to force ourselves to find something to fight for. I hope we will be galvanised by what has been inflicted against us, and this is what I will try to tell my players." He said.

Probable line-ups:
Spain: 4-3-3
De Gea; Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Koke, Iniesta; Silva, Isco, Costa.


Morocco: 4-2-3-1
Monir; Hakimi, Da Costa, Benatia, Dirara; Ziyech, El Ahmadi; Belhanda, Boussoufa, Amrabat; Boutaib.


Prediction: Spain (4/10) 
Morocco have come unstuck against both Portugal and Iran despite playing fantastically. I don’t see them managing to topple Spain here. Come on, back La Roja’s quality to prevail.  

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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