2018 World Cup Group B Preview & Predictions
Published on 14/01/18
Group B is one of the most eagerly awaited groups at the 2018 World Cup, as it features plenty of the talent that La Liga fans can witness on a weekly basis. That’s because, not only does Group B feature Spain, but also the amazing talents of Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar Christian Ronaldo. It will also provide many fans with a chance to watch Morocco and Iran for the first time, two teams who impressed during their qualifying campaigns.
2018 World Cup Group B Betting Guide
Spain 4/7, Portugal 2/1, Morocco 20/1, Iran 40/1
Dismal attempts to defend their 2010 World Cup Title in Brazil in 2014, and their 2012 European Championship Title in France in 2016, saw Spain make a much-needed managerial change. Out went Vicente del Bosque, and in stepped Julen Lopetegui. Since his appointment, Lopetegui has steered Spain to an easy qualification for the 2018 World Cup Finals, with 28 points from a possible 30, and he seems to have moulded the fantastic array of talented individuals at his disposal into a team. They have a solid foundation which starts with goalkeeper David De Gea, who will be protected by the experienced Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos. Iniesta and Silva can then pull the strings in mid-field, and the only doubt is whether Diego Costa or Alvaro Morata can come up with the goals.
Portugal may lack the strength in depth of Spain, but what they do have is one of the world’s best players in Christian Ronaldo, a player who can almost single-handedly win a game. However, whilst many thought Portugal had no chance in the final of the 2016 Euros when Ronaldo had to be substituted early, his team-mates showed they had plenty of resolve by defeating hosts France without him. The Portuguese also have an excellent attack, the foundation on what their success at the 2016 Euros was built on, but their attack should also be bolstered by Andre Silva in Russia.
Morocco may not have played in a World Cup for 20 years, but their coach Herve Renard has enjoyed plenty of success in the Africans Cup with the Ivory Coast and Zambia. That may not be enough here, but Morocco do have some useful players such as Younes Belhanda, Nabil Dirar and Hakim Ziyech.
Iran may have finished their final qualifying group game with a 2-2 draw, but they were the only two gaols they conceded in 10 matches. They are also, interestingly, now coached by Portuguese Coach Carlos Queiroz, and have discovered goal-machine Sardar Amzoun since they failed to win a match at the 2014 World Cup.
An interesting group, in which Morocco and Iran may not prove pushovers but are still expected to exit at the Group Stage, meaning both Spain and Portugal should qualify for the knockout stages. However, both teams will understand the importance of topping the group. They also play each other first, so there will be no time to acclimatise. Therefore, with Spain under-pressure to perform better than at the last two major championships, it could be worth taking a chance on Portugal drawing first-blood and going on to win Group B.