FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Spain vs Morocco PREVIEW
Two sides whose fates have pretty much been settled, but Spain still need to make sure to pick up a result just in case a draw happens in the other group B game. Morocco have already been knocked out, probably one of the unluckiest teams in the tournament because they’ve played well just failed to take their chances. A draw is enough to put Spain through, but Morocco wont give up easy, they will play for pride and will try to shock the contenders.
Spain have been relatively decent so far, they’ve played good attacking football, but been slightly average defending. They first drew 3-3 with Portugal where they looked fantastic going forward, but got destroyed by Ronaldo which is something they shouldn’t be ashamed of as Ronaldo have done it to the best of them throughout his career. However in the second game there was a little sluggishness in Spain’s play. They really struggled to break down the Iranian defence, it took a very lucky deflection to Costa for the ball to go in. Spain dominated the game, they had like 80% possession and did create chances, but it got nervy towards the end with Iran putting some really dangerous balls in the box and missing some good chances, including being denied a goal by the VAR due to offside. It was a nervy game for Spain, but they did eventually pull through which now puts them in a great situation coming up against an already knocked out Morocco. A draw here and they’re through, a convincing win gets them 1st place. Diego Costa has been the standout man this year by scoring 3 goals for Spain having a much better world cup than last time round, Isco has been a close 2nd in terms of performance. Spain’s midfield in general have been good.
Coming into the final group game, Spain have to sure it up at the back. Yes, Morocco are knocked out and lost both games, but to say they’ve not been threatening going forward would be false. They have talented players like Ziyech, Belhanda, Amrabat and can punish Spain if they continue to look average at the back because eventually Morocco will get a bit of luck their way. Going forward, there’s no worry with Spain because they’ve been creating chances and Costa’s been putting them away and given the way Morocco play they like to attack which could leave spaces which will make it easier for Spain than it was against Iran. Spain have thrived in an open game as we saw against Portugal so if their midfield is on form, we will see good fluent winning football from Spain. They can’t come into this game underestimating Morocco just because they’re out as Morocco will definitely attempt to win since they’re that type of nation who don’t often participate or win at the world cup. So to summarise a well organised back line and being fully engaged in the game are the biggest keys in this game.
Probably one of the unluckiest sides in the tournament, up there with Peru and Australia for sure. Morocco have been knocked out after losing both games to Iran and Portugal 1-0 although they’ve been the better team in both games. Losing to Iran in the 95th minute was heart breaking enough, but giving up an early goal to Portugal and then wasting a tons of chances makes it even worse. You could easily make an argument that Morocco would have 6 points had they taken their chances, but enough with the “if’s” since they failed to take their chances and have been knocked out. The man who has impressed for Morocco hasn’t been Ziyech or Belhanda or Benatia. It’s been Amrabat, the Watford man has had a very good world cup, he’s played well against Iran then played really well against Portugal giving their LB Guerreiro problems, but unfortunately even he couldn’t find a way to help Morocco score. It’s been a world cup of wasted chances and then being punished for poor defending from set pieces. There’s nothing Morocco can do about it now other than try and attempt to ruin Spain’s world cup. It’s a game they’ll give everything to win and they can’t be taken lightly.
We can expect Morocco to come into this game with a positive mindset in terms of play style. Expect Morocco to leave it all in their last world cup game this year. It’s still a great opportunity to shock one of the big boys and they’ll be clutching their straws at it. As mentioned, Spain have been average at the back and Morocco on their day could easily punish them. Morocco need a little luck going their way of course which is something they haven’t had at all in this tournament. Benatia must be on his game and have to show leadership at the back since Spain have one of the most lethal attacks with the best midfield in the world and a striker in Costa who’s in banging form. Benatia will have to make sure to win the physical battle with Costa in this game. Don’t expect Morocco to rotate. Losing two heart breakers can take a mental toll on the team which is another key for Morocco. Being mentally prepared to go again after suffering two tough defeats won’t be easy. If they show up deflated then it could go wrong real quick, but if they come out still believing, wanting to upset Spain then Morocco could get something out of this as unlikely as that sounds.
Expect entertaining attacking football in this game. Spain always love to go forward, control possession and same can be said about Morocco. Morocco have got nothing to lose, they’re out anyway the mindset has to be to just go out, enjoy the moment and try to upset the former world champions. Spain should have a much more open game going forward this time around since Morocco don’t sit back like Iran and yeah overall we should see some goals. Can’t see Morocco getting anything out of this game because in an open game Spain will prove to have too much quality. Spain are just much more lethal in the final third and that will be the main difference. Expect a fun game which Spain will win 3-1. Costa will bag another goal.
1-2 Portugal 4 pts +1 GD
1-2 Spain 4 pts +1 GD
3 Iran 3 pts 0 GD
4 Morocco 0 pts -2 GD
ODDS – Decimal (WilliamHill)
Spain Win – 1.33
Draw – 4.80
Morocco Win – 10.00
KICK OFF – 25th June 2018 – 7pm UK Time