FIFA World Cup: Morocco vs Iran preview

The two underdogs in FIFA World Cup Group B will clash in Saint Petersburg on Friday, when Morocco take on Iran. These two sides will have to pull off some major upsets to qualify ahead of Portugal and Spain in Group B, but we've seen stranger things at World Cups in the past. These two nations have never met before on a football pitch. Both nations have qualified for the final tournament on four occasions, Iran never made it past the group stage while Morocco did manage to qualify for the second round once, in 1986.

Morocco should be full of confidence ahead of the final tournament, they are the African champions after all. They have won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Nigeria in the final and have not lost any of their last eighteen matches in all competitions. Moreover, they qualified for the World Cup with an impressive record in African qualification Group C: three wins and three draws, 11 goals scored and none conceded. They have won their last two warm-up friendlies, 2-1 against Slovakia and 3-1 over Estonia.

This is the second consecutive final tournament for Iran, they never managed to qualify twice in a row before. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the Iranians left a pretty good impression, even though they did not manage to qualify from the group stage. They qualified quite easily for the 2018 World Cup, they finished at the top of Asian qualification Group A with 6 victories and 4 draws out of ten matches. They had mixed results in the warm-up friendlies this year, they beat Algeria 2-1 but lost 1-0 against Tunisia. Midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi is suspended for this match.

Probable line-ups:

Morocco: Mohamedi - Amrabat, Benatia, Saiss, Hakimi - Boussoufa, Ahmadi - Harit, Belhanda, Ziyech - Kaabi

Iran: Beiranvand - Rezaeian, Chesmi, Pouralinganji, Mohammadi - Safi, Shojaei - Jahanbakhsh, Ansarifard, Taremi - Azmoun

My prediction: 0-0 draw, it should be a hard-fought match but both teams will worry more about not conceding rather than scoring.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Morocco win - 2.30
Draw - 3.00
Iran win - 3.90

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    Don't know what to think about this one at all.
    As Johnny mentioned above Morocco are the current African champions and that should mean something really so I think they should be the slight favourite in the game but if that what we'll see on the field - I have no idea.
    My guess in the full meaning of this word would be one goal win for Morocco - 2-1.

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