Morocco – Iran FREE PICKS
Morocco and Iran have the honor to play the first World Cup in Group B on Friday afternoon in St. Petersburg. The winner of this confrontation immediately does excellent business in the fierce battle for a spot in the eighth finals.
Orange sparkles this World Cup due to absence, but this summer, Morocco is providing a Dutch touch in Russia. With names such as Nordin Amrabat, Karim El Ahmadi, Sofyan Amrabat and star player Hakim Ziyech, the Atlas Lions have several players who grew up in the Netherlands and were active in the Eredivisie. With Spain, Portugal and of course Iran as opponents, Morocco has won hard, but with a bit of luck the North Africans could stunt by keeping Portugal and Iran behind and put themselves behind Spain as number two for the knockout phase. The result from the first group match is crucial: against Iran there is only victory.
Morocco is in any case self-confident. The country, which has made its appearance at the World Championships for the first time in twenty years, has been unbeaten for eighteen games in a row and was unapproachable in the World Cup qualifying in a tough pool with Côte d’Ivoire among others. Particularly the midfield is with creative players like Amine Harit (Schalke 04), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) and Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray) to lick themselves. Also the defense under the leadership of Juventus-mandekker Mehdi Benatia gives away little presents. The weak spot of the Moroccans is clearly in the forefront. Ayoub El Kaabi did well during the World Cup qualifying, but he did not play for free in his own country with the middle-engine RSB Berkane. So it is possible that national coach Herve Renard eventually prefers Khalid Boutaïb, in the daily life of the Turkish Yeni Malatyaspor.
The bookmakers do not give Iran a chance in group B, but is that right? Like Morocco, the country remained unbeaten during the World Cup qualifying and only had to face two goals in those ten World Cup qualifiers. National coach Carlos Quieroz, who for a long time was the right hand of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and also for a while at the helm of Real Madrid, has transformed Iran into a solid unit that can not be easily acquired.
However, a goal machine is not Iran. Despite the presence of, among others, Eredivisie top scorer Alireza Jahanbaksh (AZ), Team Melli only scored ten times in ten World Cup qualifiers. The Persian’s main asset is the name of Sardar Azmoun. He may be an unknown name to the general public, but he has been burning Rubin’s Russian Premier League for five years on behalf of Rubin Kazan and before that Rostov. Also in their own country, the Iranian Messi, thanks to 23 goals in 32 international matches, is barely able to cross the street. In a good World Championship I think it’s likely that the 23-year-old playmaker will find shelter with a subtopper from one of the major Western European competitions.
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