Morocco – Group B – Overview and Morocco betting tips
It’s been twenty long years since Morocco last qualified for the World Cup, but it looks like the Atlas Lions are keen to prove the doubters wrong and put in a strong performance in Russia this summer. Under their head coach, Herve Renard, the side managed to qualify unbeaten in the group stages, and with promising young stars like Hakim Ziyech, we are expecting Morocco to deliver a few upsets.
Whilst Morocco face a tough challenge in Group B, you can never underrate this tough and unpredictable team. So read our full guide to Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup adventure and see how the bookies rate the team’s chances in this international football extravaganza.
Morocco prediction: How well will they do?
Few teams will have envied Morocco when the teams for Group B was announced. Whilst Morocco might fancy their chances against Iran, the prospect of having to play against footballing giants like Spain and Portugal would be a formidable challenge for any team.
Morocco’s opening match against Iran in Saint Petersburg on 15 June is a must-win game for Herve Renard’s team. The Iranian team have proven to be a tough side to beat recently, and it’s hoped that the experience of Karim El Ahmadi and the striking prowess of Khalid Boutaïb will help them win and get that all-important goal difference.
Once Morocco have met Iran, they then have the daunting prospect of facing Portugal in Moscow on 20 June. The Euro 16 winners will prove a tough challenge for Morocco, and it’s hoped that defensive stars like Achraf Hakimi can hold out against the phenomenal striking talents of Cristiano Ronaldo.
If Morocco manage to scrape a point against Portugal, then they will have all to play for against Spain in Kaliningrad on 25 June. 10Bet currently have Spain ranked third to win the World Cup at 19/4, whilst Morocco are lagging way back at 225/1. But whilst the bookie’s odds are predicting a whitewash here, it’s worth remembering that Morocco are the only team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup to qualify without conceding a single goal, and so they could be worth a decent outside bet for this enticing clash.
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Journey to the World Cup — Who did Morocco beat to qualify?
Morocco managed to somehow breeze through their qualifying CAF matches without conceding a single goal. Thanks to the ingenious coaching skills of Herve Renard, the side emerged far ahead of their competitors in Group C.
Whilst the early stages of their campaign saw Morocco enduring dismal goalless draws against the likes of Gabon and Ivory Coast, they quickly found their goalscoring form in September 2017 with a 6-0 rout of Mali.
It has to be said that Group C was a fairly tough group, and there were many punters speculating that Morocco wouldn’t make it through. But with further strong performances including a fantastic hat-trick from Khalid Boutaïb in a 3-0 win against Gabon, it was clear that Morocco were keen to overturn past form and make their triumphant way towards Russia.
Best players for Morocco: Who should you be betting on?
Whilst Morocco doesn’t have many famous star players, there’s enough strength in depth in their team to suggest that they could prove to be a problem for many more highly ranked teams. In particular, it’s the young playmaker, Hakim Ziyech, who has been catching many fans’ eyes thanks to his intelligent and energetic skills in the Ajax midfield.
In addition to Ziyech, there are other youngster such as Achraf Hakimi who have proven to be exceptional in helping Morocco gain such an impressive reputation for their defensive prowess. Hakimi has been putting in hard work for Real Madrid this season, and it’s hoped that he can hold off his club team-mates in the Spanish and Portuguese national teams.
Whilst it’s easy to focus on the defensive qualities of Morocco, we have to mention how strikers like Khalid Boutaïb have been in rare form for the national team. At 225/1 at NetBet to pick up the Golden Boot, Boutaïb may need a bit more support when it comes to taking on teams like Portugal and Spain. But with experienced stars like Juventus’ Mehdi Benatia there to provide a further sense of confidence at the back, we’re hoping for big things from an under-rated Moroccan team this summer.
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Who manages Morocco?
There is little doubt that it’s the efforts of the French manager, Herve Renard, that have been a big part in helping the Moroccan footballing resurgence. Ever since Renard came to Morocco in 2016, he’s helped to revitalise the team spirit and give the nation a lift as they await the World Cup this June.
Renard has already had plenty of success in African football, as he helped both Zambia and Ivory Coast win the Africa Cup of Nations. Although he has been linked with moves to the Algeria and South Africa, he recently stated that he’s determined to help Morocco put on a memorable performance at the FIFA 2018 World Cup. And although Morocco might not trouble the bookies too much, with the insight from Renard and the valuable advice from his assistant, Patrice Beaumelle, we could expect to see Morocco emerge as dark horses from Group C.
Why bet on Morocco?
Morocco are a relatively unknown quantity on today’s international footballing scene. But you only have to look back a couple of decades to see how this team once used to be much more feared. In 1998, Morocco were narrowly pushed out of the World Cup group stages thanks to a late goal from Norway, and they will be keen to avenge such a heartbreaking moment.
It would be a very risky bet to wager on Morocco to somehow get past Spain and Portugal to reach the group stages in Russia. But there’s a team spirit evident in the Morocco side that makes them a good outside bet for frustrating the Spanish and Portuguese squads. Whilst it’s fairly unlikely that Morocco will win either of these encounters, it’s worth noting that 888Sport have Morocco on 6/1 to win their Portugal match which could be a good deal if you are feeling particularly lucky.
The World Cup is notorious for throwing up all manner of sporting upsets, and you only have to look back to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to see how lowly-ranked teams like Algeria managed to sneak through into the final sixteen.
Much of Morocco’s fortunes will rest on manager Herve Renard’s shoulders as he attempts to make sure that intelligent players Hakim Ziyech get the ball to create some goal-scoring opportunities on the break. The opening match against Iran will be pivotal for the Moroccan team, if they fail to win this game then they can kiss goodbye to their chances of reaching the knock-out rounds. But if they succeed against Iran, then they could be a good outside shot for upsetting the footballing titans of Spain and Portugal.
Best Odds Available at 888Sport