Today’s Predictions: Portugal Vs Morocco
Portugal vs. Morocco Odds
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The 18th match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will take place between Euro 2016 Winners Portugal and Morocco.
- Date : 20th June 2018
- Time 5:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.
As group B enters its second round, Portugal will be looking for a big win against their North African counterparts to battle with Spain for the top spot, in a crunch tie.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Portugal actually suffered a huge setback when they lost to Switzerland in their opening game of the UEFA Qualification round. However, the return of Cristiano Ronaldo from injury coincided with an amazing winning run as the team won all their remaining matches, and scored 32 goals while conceding only 2 in those 9 games. Their forwards Ronaldo and Andre Silva scored a staggering 24 goals among them.
Morocco breezed through their CAF Qualifying group without conceding a single goal. However, they drew their first 4 matches 0-0, before finally finding their rhythm and scoring 9 goals in their last 2 matches. A 3-0 victory over Gabon ensured their qualification ahead of the favourites Ivory Coast.
Portugal hasn’t won their last 3 matches in a row, including a damaging 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands back in March. Their only wins in their last 6 matches came against comparative minnows Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Their forwards were prolific during the qualifiers but things have calmed down in attack of late.
Morocco have been in stellar form over the last few months. With 5 wins and 1 draw in their last 6 games. They managed consecutive impressive victories against Serbia, Uzbekistan, Ivory Coast and South Korea, to prove they are no lightweights going into this tournament. Their most recent victory came against Slovakia this month. They have scored 11 goals and conceded just 3 in their last 6 matches.
Portugal and Morocco in the World Cup So Far
Portugal opened their World Cup campaign with probably the match of the tournament against Spain. As Diego Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo battled each other for supremacy, the match ended 3-3 with some beautiful goals scored by players of both these nations. Despite Spain starting much better, Portugal proved they are more than capable of cutting it with the very top teams in this tournament, and as long as Cristiano Ronaldo is in this form they do not need to worry about any other team.
Morocco’s stellar unbeaten run of 5 wins and 1 draw in the last 6 games came to an abrupt end with a shock result against Iran. The Moroccans were fancied to take that game comfortably but missed several chances and were eventually punished in the most cruel manner possible, as an own goal in the dying minutes gave Iran an undeserved victory and ended Morocco’s unbeaten run.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met just once before, at 1986 FIFA World Cup, and Morocco caused a huge upset by beating their much fancied European opponents 3-1 on the day.
Portugal have also surprisingly dropped experienced campaigner Luis Nani, along with Barcelona duo Andre Gomes and Nelson Semedo, much to the shock of thousands of fans. Joao Cancelo and Ruben Neves are other high profile players who missed the flight to Russia. Even Eder, the player who scored the decisive goal at the 2016 Euro Final, was not selected.
Morocco’s young forward Mimoun Mahi was controversially dropped from the World Cup squad amidst high criticism. The rest of the team is filled with several players who were born outside the country but are eligible to play due to their ancestors being from the North African nation. In fact, 17 of the 23 players going to the world cup were born outside the country. The team has the perfect mix of youngsters and experienced veterans, and are hopeful of a good showing.
Players To Watch Out For
Portugal’s main man, as expected, is one of the best footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo. Young full backs Raphael Guerreiro and Cedric Soares add much needed speed on the flanks, while Manchester City’s Barnardo Silva and Milan’s Andre Silva would be looking to share the attacking responsibilities with Ronaldo.
Morocco have some brilliant footballers on their roster, none more so than captain Mehdi Benatia, who has played for two of Europe’s biggest clubs and is currently plying his trade for Juventus. Along with veteran defensive midfielder Karim El Ahmadi, Benatia was one of the major reasons behind Morocco’s excellent defensive record in the Qualifiers. Their main striker Hakim Ziyech recently won the Dutch Footballer Of The Year award after a prolific season for Ajax.
Portugal Vs Morocco Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- Portugal are favourites for this clash, with Cristiano Ronaldo hotly tipped to get his nation across the line. We recommend betting on Ronaldo to first in this game.
- Morocco have been very tight at the back, with their defence marshaled by the brilliant Benatia. Hence, we advise betting on the under 2.5 goals market.
- Morocco are playing in their first world cup in the last 20 years, while Portugal would be aiming to become just the 4th nation to win the European Championship and the World Cup consecutively.
Portugal surprised the world with an amazing run at the 2016 Euro Championships, winning the title despite losing Ronaldo to injury in the final. That proved their team’s grit and determination, which is one of the primary reasons we believe that Portugal will emerge as narrowe winners in this fixture, with due respect to Morocco’s tight defence.
World cup match predictions : Portugal 1-0 Morocco