After their incredibly defensive exploits on the road to their shock Euro 2016 win, many expected Portugal to come into this tournament with the same negative outlook on the beautiful game. It turns out that many were wrong though, and instead they served up the most thrilling match of the World Cup so far.
Back on matchday two of the 2018 World Cup Portugal faced off with Iberian rivals Spain in the tournament’s first heavyweight clash, and things got off to a flyer as Cristiano Ronaldo netted a penalty just four minutes into the game.
The drama was only just beginning though, with Diego Costa equalising 20 minutes later before Ronaldo put Portugal back ahead just before the break. Another equaliser from Costa and a stunning strike from Nacho put Spain back in control, but Ronaldo’s show wasn’t over yet. Two minutes from time Ronaldo stepped up to a dead ball just outside the penalty area before striking it into the top corner past a stranded David De Gea.
That 3-3 draw will have undoubtedly given them confidence, and they go into this match as heavy favourites in our heads. Ronaldo is confident in his abilities at the worst of times, but after a hat trick took his tally to an incredible 84 goals in 151 appearances he will be itching to get back out there. The Real Madrid man has had another excellent season, so backing him to find the net against Morocco looks a great choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
Morocco didn’t play too badly in their opener, but it’s not the performance that counts. Despite having many of the best chances, they eventually lost the game thanks to a very late own goal against an Iran side who looked lacklustre going forward. This put an end to Morocco’s 18 match unbeaten streak, a run which had lasted over a year.
To be fair, Morocco’s opposition during this run weren’t exactly up to Portugal’s standards. Fernando Santos may not have seen his side take all three points, but that was never a likelihood against Spain and to perform the way that they did was impressive enough. Despite this, the bookies have given us rather generous odds to consider. We think backing a Portugal Win looks the best value for money here.
We’re also expecting goals. For all of the excitement Ronaldo brought to the table, Portugal’s ageing defence were exposed far too much. Morocco have every chance of getting on the scoresheet, so a Portugal Win and Over 2.5 Goals looks a good choice here, along with a 3-1 correct score predictions.
Portugal Predicted Lineup: Patricio, Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Silva, Moutinho, Carvalho, Fernandes, Guedes, Ronaldo
Morocco Predicted Lineup: Mohamedi, Amrabat, Benatia, Saiss, Hakimi, Boussoufa, Ahmadi, Ziyech, Belhanda, Harit, Kaabi
HEAD TO HEAD
The only previous meeting between these nations was back in the 1986 World Cup, with Morocco winning that game 3-1 and claiming their first ever World Cup win in the process. (Source)
|Zeusbet JUN 20, 2018||1X2||DC||O/U 2.5||GG/NG||DNB|
|1372||13:00||Portugal – Morocco|
PORTUGAL VS MOROCCO STATS
Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter, in the group stages of the 1986 World Cup. It was Morocco’s first ever win at the tournament.
Portugal’s only defeat against African opposition at the World Cup came against Morocco in 1986 (1-3) – they’ve won two and drawn one of their subsequent three games against them.
Portugal have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since June 2002, when they lost 1-0 to South Korea (W5 D3 since).
Portugal have lost only one of their last 10 World Cup group games (0-4 v Germany in 2014), winning five and drawing the other four.
Morocco did not face a single shot in the second half of their opening match against Iran.
Morocco had 68% possession in their 1-0 defeat to Iran, the most by a losing team in a World Cup match since June 2010, when Spain had 73% possession against Switzerland but lost 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals for Portugal against Spain made him the oldest hat-trick scorer in the history of the World Cup (33y 130d). His third goal in that game was also the first time he’d scored from direct free-kick in a major international tournament, at the 45th attempt.
Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Spain in their opening match, making him just the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments, after Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose.
Cristiano Ronaldo had scored three goals from 70 shots in his previous three World Cup tournaments combined for Portugal (2006, 2010 and 2014) – at the 2018 World Cup, he has scored three goals from just four shots.
Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own-goal against Iran in their opening match, becoming just the third substitute to score an own-goal in a World Cup match, after Laszlo Dajka in 1986 (Hungary v USSR) and Petit in 2006 (Portugal v Germany).
Current Portugal manager Fernando Santos has only won one World Cup match (P5 W1 D3 L1), but it did come in his only previous game against African opponents, with his Greece side winning 2-1 against Ivory Coast in June 2014Fastest Paying Betting Site in Nigeria: Grab your 140% First Time Deposit Bonus Now — www.Sportybet.Com Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.