Portugal vs Morocco: Group B of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is probably one of the easiest to predict. While Portugal and Spain are assertive of making it to the knockouts, Iran & Morocco can only take home a stern learning. The Goliath’s of World football go head first against the David’s. This time though the Goliath isn’t going down. Portugal vs Morocco is one such battle. Just when we thought Portugal could be worked around by the lesser teams, Cristiano Ronaldo produced one of his finest performances. Morocco were beaten by Iran in the group’s opener and with Portugal & Spain lined-up, Morocco’s tournament is almost over, to say the least.
This will be the second time the two teams will meet at the World stage. The last time they met was in the year 1986. Morocco won that game 3-1.
Ricardo Quaresma has been a regular in the Portuguese team and Goncalo Guedes has done extremely well to keep the winger on the bench. In this fixture though, Quaresma might feature in the starting eleven.
Nordin Amrabat is likely to sit this game out due to a concussion suffered in the game against Iran. Sofyan Amrabat, his younger brother is the possible replacement.
EXPECTED PLAYING 11 FOR PORTUGAL vs
Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio
Defenders: Pepe, Jose Fonte, Cedric Soares, Raphael Guerreiro
Midfielders: Jaoa Moutinho, Jaoa Mario, William Carvalho
Strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma/Goncalo Guedes, Bernardo Silva
Defenders: Sofyan Amrabat, Mehdi Benatia, Romain Saiss, Achraf Hakimi
Midfielders: Younes Belhanda, Mbark Boussoufa, Hakim Ziyech, Amine Harit, Karim El Ahmadi
Strikers: Ayoub Kaabi
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PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Very few players in the world can give Cristiano Ronaldo a run for his money. Bernardo Silva is certainly one of the most dextrous players in the world at the moment & his nifty footwork makes him a player to watch out for. He can dribble, he can deliver immaculate through balls and can score goals. Silva at Manchester City didn’t get as much match time as he’d have liked but the crowd got to see his enthralling technique every time he put on the blue jersey. The ball is virtually tied to Silva’s feet. That’s how good he is. Can he be Portugal’s match winner?
In the Premier League 17/18 – Matches: 15, Goals: 6, Assists: 4.
Mehdi Benatia will be up against a potent Portuguese attack and it’ll be his responsibility to see them through. The Juventus defender has some much-needed experience playing in the Serie A and every microscopic defending tactic needs to work for them to topple the Ronaldo led side. The 2018 FIFA World Cup has seen the underdogs come out and express themselves beautifully. Can Benatia lead the way for Morocco? Will he be their most important player?
In the Seria A 17/18 – Matches 19, Tackles: 1.4/game, Interceptions: 2.6/game
At 33 years and 130 days, Cristiano Ronaldo’s became the oldest hattrick scorer in World Cup history. His third goal in that game was also the first time he’d scored from direct free-kick in a major international tournament; after 45 attempts.
Portugal are unbeaten against a non-European nation since June 2002, when South Korea beat them 1-0. Since then they’ve won 5 and drawn 3.
Portugal’s only defeat against African opposition at the World Cup game against Morocco in 1986. Portugal lost that game 3-1, thanks to an Abdelrazze brace. They’ve won two and drawn one of their subsequent three games against them.
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