World Cup 2018 Group B Preview
Group B consists of Spain, Portugal, Iran and Morocco. With two European powerhouses, For Morocco or Iran to getting out of the group is almost mission impossible.
Spain were simply too good between 2008 and 2012 winning two European Championships and a World Cup. Vicente del Bosque hung around a bit too long as the Spanish disappointed in 2014 and 2016 but this time they could be back under former U-19 and U-21 manager Julen Lopetegui. The teams is already a conquering side and it just need a little tweak here and there to get that best formation.
Led by the likes of David De Gea, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco and Diego Costa, there is every chance Spain can challenge for the World Cup this year. Spain’s effective high press, technical ability and rapid ball movement was too much for in the recent 6-1 thrashing of Argentina.
Spain meet their Iberian neighbours Portugal in the opening game and will be confident of getting off to a positive start. A victory against the Portugese will almost certainly wrap up top spot in Group B with Iran and Morocco to follow.
Morocco qualified for their fifth World Cup after finishing the last qualifying group stage without a goal conceded. French manager Hervé Renard is an African football specialist having previously been in charge of Ivory Coast, Zambia and Angola. The Moroccan haven’t lost since June 2017 and defeated Nigeria 4-0 in the African Nations Final.
The Moroccan team has some top quality players such as Medhi Benatia, Hakim Ziyech, Amine Harit, Sofiane Boufal, Younès Belhanda, Zakaria Labyad, Sofyan Amrabat and Achraf Hakimi. With a favourable match up against Iran in their first game, there is a great opportunity to get off to a positive start.
With defensive stability and an array of attacking flair, Morocco have the ability to give a surprise in Group B.
Iran qualified for their fifth World Cup after finishing top of their qualifying group which included Korea Republic, going undefeated and conceding just twice. Managed by experienced Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz, this team should be better in terms of experience comparing to the team in Brazil four years ago where they were eliminated in the group stage despite battling hard against Nigeria and Argentina.
Based on solidity, hard work and defensive organisation, Iran have a group of attackers that have the potential to break any defences. 23-year-old Sardar Azmoun was Iran’s top scorer in qualifiers and has scored 22 international goals while Alireza Jahanbakhsh is flourishing at AZ Alkmaar with 14 goals and 10 assists so far this season for the club.
Iran’s strategy relying on counter attacks which suit them against Spain and Portugal, but much will depend on how they perform in their opening match against Morocco. Anything can happen but it would be a huge surprise if Iran managed to go through their way out of Group B into the next phase.
The 2016 European Champions are going through a phase of regeneration and they need to get things done soonest possible, particularly in defence department, their first choice defence where 35-year-old Pepe and 36-year-old Bruno Alves could still be first their choice. The World Cup might come too soon for 20-year-old Rúben Dias with the other options José Fonte, Rolando and Luís Neto hardly inspiring choices.
Manager Fernando Santos always has a plan however, and does have one of the most devastating weapons at his disposal in Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid striker is continuously comes back strong each time with phenomenal performances. Santos faces selection dilemmas with many of his stars from 2016 are currently unfit and out of form.
The likes of Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Martins, Bruma, Rony Lopes and Gonçalo Guedes could emerge from Russia as first choices for Portugal.
World Cup Betting Prediction
Spain will be too hard to handle by Portugal in the opening game and this could lead them in the top position to win Group B. Iran are the weakest team in Group B, I don’t expect them to beat Morocco in their opening game and they have little chance against Spain and Portugal.
Group B Winners at MAXBET : Spain at 1.48
Finish Bottom of Group B at MAXBET : Iran at 1.93