Spain vs Morocco Preview

Spain vs Morocco? Spain will easily swat aside Morocco by 3 or 4 goals in a one-sided match. Well, that’s what anyone would have thought if it wasn’t the World Cup 2018. If anything you can learn from this tournament so far is that it just doesn’t follow the scripts, does it?  Iceland, Mexico, Croatia, Japan, Switzerland. What’s common for all these nations? Yes, you guessed it correctly. All of them have created big upsets already in the WC. 

Hell, how Morocco isn’t on that list is beyond belief. They played really well after falling behind from yet another Cristiano Ronaldo goal. The number of chances they had, particularly in the second half should have been enough to win the game, let alone equalize. They opened up Portugal, from left, right & center, again and again. Only if those clear-cut chances had fallen to any other player that  Medhi Benatia. The Moroccan skipper is a very capable center back but is not known for his goal-scoring abilities. He missed three clear-cut chances in the second half itself. It was a similar story of frustration and anger when they faced Iran in the first match.
One player who really impressed was the right winger Nordin Amrabat. He troubled  Portuguese left back Raphael Guerreiro throughout the game.  His ability to either cross or cut in and shoot can make it really difficult for Jordi Alba too. The Spaniard will have to be really smart with his positioning otherwise Amrabat will utilize all the space he leaves behind while trying to aid the attackers.
Spain had their own problems too when they edged Iran 1-0. VAR has its advantages and disadvantages. But never have I seen VAR break millions of hearts in a second.  Saeid Ezzatollahi thought he had done the impossible when he smashed the ball into the back of the net from close range. But VAR stole the goal away and a piece of history from Iran. Although it was a correct offside call, Iran never had another chance like that in the game and Spain closed it down calmly.
Spain looked really shaky at the back themselves, especially on set pieces. Also, they were unable to find spaces in between a tight Iranian defense. The likes of Iniesta, Isco and David Silva  might face the same problem against Morocco. Fernando Hierro would expect a lot from Diego Costa too, who has been in brilliant form recently. The likes of Pique and Ramos need to make sure that they wander not too far ahead and leave spaces behind for Morocco to counter with pace.
Predicted Line up:

Formation (4-3-3)

GoalkeeperDavid De Gea
The best GK in the world had a tough game vs Portugal, but he looked his solid best against Iran. Commanding at set plays and quick to sense the danger, DDG will look to get his second clean sheet.
Defenders:  Jordi Alba,  Sergio Ramos,  Gerard Pique, Daniel Carvajal
They look really sloppy from corners and free kicks and have to make sure not give Morocco even an inch from the set plays. Carvajal looked a little rusty as he was returning from injury, but he can be expected to be at his roaring best tonight.
Midfielders:  Busquets, Iniesta, Silva
There are not many teams in the world that can boast of such a midfield and you have to keep in mind that the likes of Koke, Thiago and Saul warm the bench. Iniesta & Silva need to be more incisive with their passing. If they are at their best, this match could prove to be a cakewalk for Spain.
Attackers:  Isco, Costa, Asensio
I think Asensio might be given a chance tonight and he should be. Vasquez didn’t have an outstanding game last time and it might be a good time to test out Asensio. Costa, the bully is lacking no confidence and Isco has been Spain’s best player in the WC so far.
Spain need at least a point to secure their place in the last 16. But they would try to win, and win with a big margin so that they can clinch the top spot even if Portufal beat Iran. Morocco are already out of the tournament and will be playing for pride.

I expect Morocco to sit deep, be really compact and frustrate Spain for as long as possible and then try and hit them on the break. If Isco and co find their rhythm quickly and get an early goal, it could prove to be a really long night for Morocco.

PredictionsSpain 2-0 Morocco 

Author: TUD Author

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