WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keepers: M. Mohamedi, Y. Bounou, A. Tagnaouti
Defence: M. Benatia, R. Saiss, M. Da Costa, B. Benoun, N. Dirar, A. Hakimi, H. Mendyl
Midfield: M. Boussoufa, K. El Ahmadi, Y. Bennasser, S. Amrabat, Y. Belhanda, F. Fajr, A. Harit
Forward: K. Boutaib, A. Bouhaddouz, A. El Kaabi, N. Amrabat, M. Carcela, H. Ziyech
Morocco will be playing in their 5th World Cup this year and their first since 1998. In their 4 previous tournaments they have only made it out of the group stage once, which was in 1986, where they were defeated 1-0 by West Germany.
Managed by Jaime Lannister Herve Renard, the first manager to win the African Cup of Nations with 2 different countries, Morocco qualified from their group unbeaten with 3 wins and 3 draws – conceding 0 goals in a group featuring Mali, Gabon & Ivory Coast.
They followed this up with winning the African Nations Championship earlier this year, beating Nigeria 4-0 in the final.
Recent friendly results have been encouraging, a 3-1 win away to South Korea in October last year was followed up with 2-1 win over Serbia, 2-0 against Uzbekistan and very recently a 0-0 draw with Ukraine.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
While not one of the strongest outfits in the tournament Morocco do possess some very good players, most notably Mehdi Benatia and Younes Belhanda.
Munir played every match in goal of last years African Cup of Nations and will almost certainly be starting again here. Morocco are pretty tight at the back as we’ve seen from qualification already, the starting back four from right to left should be – Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia, Romain Saiss and 19 year old Achraf Hakimi. Hakimi generally plays centrally or at right back but the Real Madrid youngster has often found himself on the left hand side for his country in his 8 previous caps, even scoring in a 6-0 route of Mali.
Playing with 5 in midfield, Mbark Boussoufa & Karim El Ahmadi will be holding and allow freedom to Sofyan Amrabat, Younes Belhanda and their star man Hakim Ziyech, the Ajax man has 8 in 16 for Morocco and will be key if they are to get out of the group – don’t be surprised to see him get a move to one of Europe’s top leagues after the World Cup.
This leaves just the one up top, which should be Yeni Malatyaspor forward, Khalid Boutaib who has 7 in his 16 caps so far, including a hat-trick in the aforementioned Mali game. He finished the season with a decent return of 12 in 31 for Malatyaspor.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Spain are one of the outright favourites and should be winning the group, most likely taking maximum 9 points. They possess some of the best players in world football and have serious strength in depth that only Germany & France can match.
Portugal, the European Champions haven’t looked particularly great since winning the tournament 2 years ago and even then they were never close to being the best team at that tournament.
In the Confederations Cup from last year they were knocked out by Chile in the Semi then won 2-1 AET against Mexico, following this; a 3-0 vs Saudi Arabia, 1-1 with the USA, a 2-1 win over Egypt thanks to 2 goals in stoppage time from Ronaldo and then a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands
This is hardly inspiring stuff from what is supposed to be the best team on the continent, they have a couple more friendlies before the tournament though most notably against Belgium and we’ll give a better idea of whether they will be any sort of challengers.
Carlos Queiroz’ Iran complete Group B, despite a great showing in qualifying finishing undefeated in their group with 6 wins and 4 draws, this group will be too much for them. They’ve only won 1 game from their 4 previous World Cup Finals, a 2-1 victory over the USA in 1998. They’ll do well to get a point here.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group B Fixtures / Results
|Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg – June 15, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi – June 15, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow – June 20, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kazan Arena, Kazan – June 20, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Mordovia Arena, Saransk – June 25, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – June 25, 2018 8:00 pm|
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