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

Spain and Portugal go in search of their first wins at the World Cup in Group B after playing out a draw in the opening match.

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed a hat-trick in the opening game, which will go down as an instant classic and he will be hopeful of adding to that tally against Morocco.

Morocco, who suffered a shock loss to Iran, know that defeat against Portugal would all but spell elimination – but their coach Herve Renard refuses to accept that they are all but out already.

“In a competition when there are three matches, as long as there are two matches there is always hope whatever the opponent,” he said.

Despite being overwhelming favourites, Portugal and their coach Fernando Santos are not under-estimating Morocco.

“The coach is never satisfied, he wants evolution,” Silva told reporters. “We are never satisfied.

“We are focused on analysing and surpassing the Morocco team. In my opinion, Morocco deserved to have won the game with Iran.

“There are no easy games. We played against a great favourite, we have also created difficulties for our opponents. It was a positive result, but we didn’t want a tie.”

Spain go into game with Iran, with some in their media calling for goalkeeper David De Gea to be dropped following his mistake in the draw with Portugal, but coach Fernando Hierro insists he is fully behind the Manchester United number one.

“Goalkeeper is a special position, with a special psychology,” said Hierro. “We have no doubts. Honestly. He doesn’t doubt himself either.”

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz admits that Iran now face one of the biggest challenges in their history.

“If the game against Morocco was the World Cup final for us, the game against Spain will be the Universe Cup final,” said Queiroz.

“It was not a miracle that we won. What can happen once in a while is a group of people, when they are united, can create super stories and super things. Our attitude is to try and make the impossible possible.”

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.

Portugal 13:00 Morocco
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Live on BBC

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

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: These two have met only once before, in the 1986 World Cup. Morocco’s 3-1 victory was their first ever win in the tournament.
Match odds from bet365: PORTUGAL 13/20 DRAW 11/4 MOROCCO 11/2
bet365 Pick: Morocco +1 to win @13/10
ANDY SAYS: Close game but I think that Portugal just come out on top…1-0
GRAEME SAYS: Portugal looked good to me and they will win this, with something to spare…3-1
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Cristiano Ronaldo – it’s obvious but after his opening hat-trick you have to stick with him

Iran 19:00 Spain
Kazan Arena, Kazan
Live on ITV

IR Iran: Ali Beiranvand; Ramin Rezaeian, Morteza Pouraliganji, Pejman Montazeri; Masoud Shojaei, Saeid Ezatolahi, Ehsan Haji Safi, Omid Ebrahimi; Vahid Amiri, Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Spain: David de Gea; Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Nacho; Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara , Andres Iniesta, Isco, David Silva; Diego Costa

KEY FACT: Iran top their group after first World Cup win since 1998
Match odds from bet365: IRAN 20/1 DRAW 13/2 SPAIN 2/11
bet365 Pick: Spain to win and Under 2.5 goals @6/4
ANDY SAYS: Easy win for Spain, Iran won first time out but they were poor overall for me…0-3
GRAEME SAYS: I don’t think Spain are denied here and they could inflict a big defeat on Iran…0-5
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Anders Iniesta – Still the key to Spain, could he have life left in him on the Index?

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