World Cup Preview – Group B | Iran v Portugal - Spain v Morocco - The Gambling Times

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World Cup Preview – Group B | Iran v Portugal – Spain v Morocco

Portugal and Spain head into the final game of the group stages knowing draws will be enough to take them through.

However, defeat for both would see one of them knocked out with Iran progressing – although Morocco can’t go through no matter what.

As it stands they are level on four points with identical records, after drawing against each other and then winning their second games 1-0.

Spain take on Morocco in Kaliningrad, whilst Portugal face Iran in Saransk A draw for Spain will be enough, but even defeat could see them through depending on the outcome  of the other game.

Spanish coach Fernando Hierro admits that nothing but victory will do for his side.

“This is the World Cup, and not one single game is going to be easy,” Hierro said. “We can improve, and I hope we will keep winning while we do so, but nobody is giving anything away easily.

“We are in a very even group, where everything is equal, as they are in the other groups. In certain groups teams have already qualified (for the last 16) but our group is very tough. We have no option but to secure all three points against Morocco.”

Portugal like Spain know victory or a draw will take them through, but defeat would see Iran progress, and their Portuguese coach Carlos Quieroz insists he will have no qualms about knocking out his homeland.

“It’s a game of football, this has nothing to do with patriotism, we’re professionals,” said Queiroz.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos remains upbeat that the European champions can become world champions.

“Let’s see after the group stage is over, the results are unpredictable. And then we have to focus on the second half of the tournament,” he said.

“As of now I’m awaiting a difficult match against Iran. As for your question about whether we’ll be able to repeat our success from the Euro, I’ll answer that later.”

See below for a preview on the games, including predictions from former England and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and bet365’s Steve Freeth.

Iran 19:00 Portugal
Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Live on BBC

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS:
IR Iran:
 Ali Beiranvand; Ehsan Haji Safi, Morteza Pouraliganji, Ramin Rezaeian, Majid Hosseini; Saeid Ezatolahi, Vahid Amiri, Omid Ebrahimi, Karim Ansarifard, Mehdi Taremi; Sardar Azmoun

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro; Cedric Soares, William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Joao Mario; Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo

KEY FACT: Senegal have avoided defeat in all three games they have played against Japan
Match odds from bet365: JAPAN 5/2 DRAW 21/10 SENEGAL 11/8
bet365 Pick: Draw @21/10
ANDY SAYS: I can Japan causing the shock and getting through by claiming the win…2-0
GRAEME SAYS: Senegal all the way for me, and they will do it with something to spare…0-3
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Sadio Mane – still plenty of potential left in the Liverpool star

Spain 19:00 Morocco
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
Live on BBC

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS:
Spain:
David de Gea; Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Dani Carvajal; Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Isco, David Silva; Diego Costa, Iago Aspas

Morocco: Monir El Kajoui; Achraf Hakimi, Ghanem Saiss, Mehdi Benatia, Hamza Mendyl; Karim El Ahmadi, Hakim Ziyach, Mbark Boussoufa, Younes Belhanda, Noureddine Amrabat; Khalid Boutaib

KEY FACT: Poland have never qualified for the second phase of the tournament after losing their opening game.
Match odds from bet365: POLAND 12/5 DRAW 5/2 COLOMBIA 5/4
bet365 Pick: Colombia to win @5/4
ANDY SAYS: Close game and I think they will fight it out for a draw…1-1
GRAEME SAYS: I would go with Colombia here just to have the edge and take a narrow win…1-2
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: James Rodriguez – Colombia need their midfield star to step-up and he has every chance of bolstering his Index value at the same time

Football INDEX is a stockmarket game where players, known as Traders, take a position on the “future success” of footballers with real money – CLICK HERE to play and start winning, and take advantage of your £20 cashback only with TheGamblingTimes.

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