Morocco vs Iran – Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips
This match is over: Final score is: 0-1
Next Morocco match: Portugal vs Morocco
Next Iran match: Iran vs Spain
15th June 2018 – 16.00 GMT
Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Morocco face Iran in an opening group match which both sides will be desperate to win at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
2010 winners Spain and European champions Portugal are strong favourites to progress from the group, so both sides face an almost must-win game to start their campaign.
These two sides have never met before, either at a competitive level or in friendly matches.
The Asian side have now qualified for four of the last six World Cup competitions but have never advanced beyond the group stage.
The majority of Carlos Queiroz’s side are based in Europe and have built their success upon a solid defence and tactical discipline.
Morocco, captained by Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia, are in their fifth World Cup finals but their first in the 21st century and they’ve only once progressed beyond the groups.
Neither side will be confident of progressing through this group but Morocco will enter this game as favourites, due to a recent 15-game unbeaten run.
The African side topped a tough group which included Ivory Coast and Mali, while Iran finished seven points clear of the Korea Republic in their group.
Morocco are favourites to win this one, with William Hill offering odds of 23/20 for them to secure victory.
Clean sheets have formed the bedrock of Morocco’s recent run – they have conceded just four goals in their last 13 games, while Iran have eight clean sheets from their last 13.
William Hill are offering odds of 69/50 for this game featuring fewer than 1.5 goals – a big possibility due to their emphasis on defence.
- Iran have only conceded more than once in a game on two occasions in a 35-game run dating back to Sweden 3-1, March 2015
- Rubin Kazan striker Sardar Azmoun is Iran’s top active international goal scorer, with 23 goals in 32 appearances
- Azmoun to be Iran’s top scorer at the World Cup at 11/2 with bet365
- Ayoub El Kaabi is Morocco’s top scorer (10 goals) despite having only one eight international caps
- El Kaabi to be Morocco’s top scorer at the World Cup at 10/1 with bet365
Morocco:Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Hamza Mendyl, Manuel da Costa, Medhi Benatia (captain), Romain Saïss, Hakim Ziyech, Karim El Ahmadi, Ayoub El Kaabi, Younès Belhanda, Fayçal Fajr, Munir Mohamedi, Khalid Boutaïb, Mbark Boussoufa, Youssef Aït Bennasser, Nordin Amrabat, Nabil Dirar, Amine Harit, Youssef En-Nesyri, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Sofyan Amrabat, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Mehdi Carcela.
Iran: Alireza Beiranvand, Mehdi Torabi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Milad Mohammadi, Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei (captain), Morteza Pouraliganji, Omid Ebrahimi, Karim Ansarifard, Vahid Amiri, Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Pejman Montazeri, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Mehdi Taremi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Majid Hosseini, Sardar Azmoun, Ashkan Dejagah, Amir Abedzadeh, Ramin Rezaeian.