Spain and Portugal could have hardly asked for a better draw ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The two heavyweights are set to play the likes of Morocco and Iran for the place in the knockout phase and one can just not imagine seeing any of these two sides out of the competition after group stages. Their potential round of 16 draw is also a favorable as they are paired together with the Group A (Uruguay, Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia). In the below article we will go through the key facts which surround members of this group.
Spain: World Class, yet underachievers
Spain have faced huge disappointments on last two majors. They came to Brazil as the reigning FIFA World Cup champions four years ago only to suffer shocking group phase elimination. The team then failed to make an impact two years later at EURO 2016 in France where they showed poor displays against both Croatia in the group stage and Italy in the last 16 round.
Nonetheless, the Spaniards look to have gained the much-needed confidence under Julen Lopetegui who, in spite of lacking the managerial experience at the highest level, led the team towards the top spot in the qualifying group ahead of Italy (an impressive 3-0 victory over Azzurri at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was a remarkable one).
The La Furia Roja is no doubts the group’s main favorite and one of top contenders to go all the way with the world class stars in their lineup. David De Gea enjoys an incredible season in Manchester United, much like David Silva does in Manchester City. The defensive line with the Barcelona-Real Madrid mix (Carvajal, Pique, Ramos and Alba) could lead the team towards a success as well.
Portugal is not all about Ronaldo
Portugal will travel to Russia as the reigning European champions after a shocking campaign which has seen them go all the way two years ago in France. They look to have a greater depth in the squad here, compared to the team which took the European gold), and they’ve shown quality in last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup winning the third place (the unfortunate semifinal loss to Chile on penalties). Fernando Santos is a fantastic tactical mag and he could make big things with Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva & company in Russia.
Morocco: End of a long 20-year old wait
Morocco are back at the biggest stage after 20 years and a heartbreaking elimination in the group stage of the tournament in France 1998. The Atlas Lions build their game on the rock-solid defense which has not allowed a single goal in six group stage matches in African WC Qualifications.
They’ve topped their respective group ahead of Ivory Coast with an impressive goal difference of 11-0. Juventus’ Mehdi Benatia is the key man at the back, while a lot is expected from the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Nordin Amrabat. Team’s top scorer in the qualifying campaign was Khalid Boutaib who has been enjoying a terrific season with Turkish outfit Yeni Malatyaspor.
Iran: The Potential Party Crashers
Iran have made it back-to-back FIFA World Cup appearances for the first time in their history. The catalyst for such success has clearly been Carlos Quieroz whose brilliant defensive tactics led the team towards 12 consecutive clean sheets in Asian WC Qualifications. Team Melli do not have a true star and they will certainly be massive underdogs here, but it will be very interesting to see how the group’s favourites will cope with their rock-solid defense in Russia.
FIFA World Cup Group B – Predictions and Bet Tips
One does not have to be extra smart to figure that Spain and Portugal should ease their way towards the knockout stages. We believe the time has come for La Furia Roja to shine and we’ll back Spain to win the first place and Portugal to come second at the 2.25 odds.
Spain to win Group B @ 1.50
Exact Finishing Order (1st & 2nd placed) – Spain and Portugal @ 2.25 odds.