Portugal and Morocco get the second round of group games in Group B underway and it’s a vital encounter for both. The European champions salvaged a point thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo against Spain in the game of the tournament, whilst the African side fell to a surprise, and heartbreaking, late defeat to Iran. After Ronaldo’s magnificent individual display, all eyes will be on him in what should be an attacking, open game.
As for Morocco, they know defeat means they are sure to be out of the competition later in the day, so they will approach this game with an all-or nothing attitude. After a bright start against Iran, they struggled but there were enough signs to suggest they will make it competitive against Portugal.
Here we will give you Portugal vs Morocco betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Portugal vs Morocco prediction for the opener.
Our Portugal vs Morocco prediction: Portugal 3-1 Morocco
Our Portugal vs Morocco prediction tips is for the European nation to come through with a reasonably comfortable win to put them in a strong position to qualify.
Portugal faced off against their much-fancied Iberian neighbours on Friday and played their part in a ridiculously good game. Once again, they were inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo who single-handedly took a point for his side thanks to a remarkable free-kick. However, his brilliance did cover for what wasn’t the best team performance. Spain controlled the ball for large parts and deserved the win in terms of general play. Even though you know Ronaldo is capable of saving the day, Portugal will want to play better and should do against inferior opposition.
As for Morocco, they will be facing a difference challenge too. Iran sat deep and didn’t give them space to counter or create chances but it will not be like that in Moscow. They do have to force the issue, as anything but a win leaves them with an uphill task to qualify but they can be patient with Portugal likely to go for the win too.
Our recommended tip – Ronaldo to score anytime
We could go with a Portugal win but instead we will go for the main man scoring at anytime. He was incredible on Friday and will be so confident heading into the game.
More importantly, Morocco showed in their game that they aren’t great defensively. The full-backs push extremely high up the pitch, leaving plenty of space down the flanks and for Portugal to counter – exactly what Ronaldo will relish. They may not be as gung-ho against Fernando Santos’ men but ultimately they need to win. With Portugal sure to score, and the side set up to serve Ronaldo, the Real Madrid man looks good value to notch again anytime.
The two sides have only ever met once before and it was also in the World Cup, with Morocco running out 3-1 winners back in Mexico ’86.
As for their form, as mentioned, Portugal drew a thriller with Spain although they were slightly fortunate on the balance of play. Nevertheless, they clearly showed the quality they have, their pace on the break and how they can compete with any country in the world.
Meanwhile, Morocco were favourites against Iran but looked toothless although they did make an electric start but eventually they ran out of ideas. Key players such as Hakim Ziyech and Younès Belhanda failed to sparkle but they could get more space to cause trouble against the European side.
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Players to watch – Cristiano Ronaldo & Hakim Ziyech
Ronaldo is the joint-leader for the golden boot and will be hoping and perhaps expecting to land the pretigious award such is his ambition. He was on top form against Spain, linking play, running at defenders and of course scoring goals. He is the ideal big game player and with his country needing a win tomorrow then you can expect him to stand up once again.
As for Ajax man Ziyech, the same couldn’t be said for him after his opening day game. The talented midfield man couldn’t make a positive impact, struggling to get on the ball and failing to carve open a resilient and tough Iran defence. As we’ve stressed, he should get more space against Portugal but Morocco will have less of the ball. Either way, he will have to improve to become the match-winner that he can be.