Group B Teams: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Portugal World Cup 2018 Preview
The Champions of Euro 2016 are looking forward to this World Cup and they will be hoping to not relive their elimination from Brazil world cup 2014. Even after winning the Euro 2016 Portugal struggle a little to qualify for the world cup after the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo. This will be the last World Cup for Ronaldo to have one last chance to win his county the tournament and go down in the history as the greatest player ever lived.
In Euro 2016 they beat France even after the injury to Ronaldo in the early stage of the game. Pepe will be the metal force in the defense and in the midfield, they have Joao Moutinho who have decent passing skills. Andre Silva is very valuable as he is a well know striker and can help Ronaldo in the attack.
Portugal definitely has to win the match against Spain despite the fact that the other two teams in the group aren’t that much threatening. Portugal should not take this match easily and go all against Spain because they were eliminated previously two times by this team and if they win this time it will be a big morale boost for them.
FIFA Ranking: 4
World Cup appearances: 6
Best World Cup result: 3rd place 1966
Portugal World Cup 2018 Squad: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma
The Coach: Fernando Santos
The Stars: Cristiano Ronaldo
Spain World Cup 2018 Preview
After losing their world cup title and also failing to defend their Euro title Spain made a change to the manager and Julen Lopetegui replaced Vicente del Bosque. After Lopetegui arrival Spain has come out of the crisis and looking very good after a long time. Spain is rich in the squad with talented forwards and midfielders and in the defense, they have elite defenders the likes of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, the only doubt will be about who is going to lead the attack. With Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata of Chelsea, they are pretty much in good hands.
As for the group goes it will be an easy group for Spain considering the experience and talent they have on their team. Only one possibility will be bad for them if they lose to Portugal in their opening match. That will certainly make an impact on the confidence and comparatively small teams like Iran and Morocco can make something out of that opportunity.
FIFA Ranking: 10
World Cup appearances: 14
Best World Cup result: Champion 2010
Spain World Cup 2018 Squad: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga; Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal; Sergio Busquets, Saul Niquez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva; Isco, Marcio Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Iago Aspas, Rodrigo, Diego Costa.
The Coach: Julen Lopetegui
The Star: Sergio Ramos
Morocco World Cup 2018 Preview
Morocco is strong defensively and they also have a pretty good midfield. The struggle begins when you look at the goal because Munir Mohamedi plays for a second tier club in Spain and not really on the world cup level and the attack is also not very strong. The coach Herve Renard has to focus on the strategies and use the formation of the team to get the possession of the ball and also press the game. Other teams should not underestimate this because you cannot expect Morocco to sit back and make mistakes.
Mehdi Benatia who plays for Juventus have been leading Morocco’s defense for some time in past and alongside with Achraf Hakimi and Fenerbache’s Nabil Dirar they won the qualifying round without conceding a goal, but keep in mind that these players have to be on their A-game to compete against the European Giants in the group. To win the round they need to win their first match against Iran because that will send a positive attitude in the team and the hope will be strong to have a chance to go ahead by winning to one of the European teams.
FIFA Ranking: 41
World Cup appearances: 4
Best World Cup result: Round of 16 1986
Morocco World Cup 2018 Squad: Mounir El Kajoui, Yassine Bounou, Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti, Mehdi Benatia, Romain Saiss, Manuel Da Costa, Badr Benoun, Nabil Dirar, Achraf Hakimi, Hamza Mendyl; M’bark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi, Youssef Ait Bennasser, Sofyan Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Faycal Fajr, Amine Harit; Khalid Boutaib, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Ayoub El Kaabi, Nordin Amrabat, Mehdi Carcela, Hakim Ziyech
The Coach: Herve Renard
The Star: Mehdi Benatia
Iran World Cup 2018 Preview
This group will surely be hard for Iran and they will have much less chance to qualify for the round of 16 because of the teams like Spain and Portugal in their group. After the arrival of Carlos Queiroz the Portuguese Coach in Iran, they have been playing in a defensive style and Iran has qualified under him two times consecutively for the world cup. Queiroz has found some dual nationals in Iran and selected them to play for the team which includes the German national Dejagah and Dutch-Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad.
In the qualifiers Iran was brilliant and their defensive skills and the pressing system will be a bit problematic for the opponents in Russia. They also have a creative enough attack to make things interesting, but you have to keep in mind that teams like Portugal or Spain can get through a defensive midfield in a 90-minute match. If they play like they were playing in the qualifying rounds they may be able to provide an upset and also win against Morocco.
FIFA Ranking: 37
World Cup appearances:4
Best World Cup result: First stage 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014
Iran World Cup 2018 Squad: Alireza Beiranvand, Rashid Mazaheri, Amir Abedzadeh; Ramin Rezaeian, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Pejman Montazeri, Seyed Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Roozbeh Cheshmi; Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei, Saman Ghoddos, Mehdi Torabi, Ashkan Dejagah, Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Vahid Amiri; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Mahdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Reza Ghoochannejhad.
The Coach: Carlos Queiroz
The Star: Sardar Azmoun
Group B Fixtures and Schedules
Friday, June 15 (4 pm BST): Morocco v Iran ITV
Friday, June 15 (7 pm BST): Portugal v Spain BBC
Wednesday, June 20 (1 pm BST): Portugal v Morocco BBC
Wednesday, June 20 (7 pm BST): Iran v Spain ITV
Monday, June 25 (7 pm BST): IR Iran v Portugal BBC
Monday, June 25 (7 pm BST): Spain v Morocco BBC
Prediction for Group A in World Cup 2018
Morocco 1-1 Iran
Spain 1-2 Portugal
Portugal 2-0 Morocco
Iran 0-1 Spain
Spain 2-0 Morocco
Iran 1-3 Portugal