World Cup 2018 Predictions Group B – Morocco

Morocco will be operating at the 2018 World Cup with it all to prove this summer. In light of their upcoming ambitions in Russia, are Herve Renard’s men truly ready to stake their claim upon the global stage? Or have these determined North Africans seemingly underestimated the many trials that lay ahead?


Will Morocco qualify from Group B?

Despite the newfound sense of euphoria currently surrounding Morocco within the international scene, their overall ability to qualify for those all-important knock-out rounds remains far from guaranteed. The task of fending off both Spain and Portugal among the opening group-stages would prove a rather tough undertaking in most given scenarios, especially for a side that haven’t officially appeared at a World Cup since France 1998.

If any team can nonetheless steal some surprise headlines this summer, perhaps it’s Morocco. Renard’s side failed to concede a single goal throughout qualification for the upcoming competition, which certainly holds the North Africans in good stead for their future endeavours.


Who will be Morocco’s star man at the World Cup?

Highlighting Morocco’s possible talisman remains something of a difficult task. Whilst Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal and Galatasaray’s Younes Belhanda are both likely to feature among Renard’s first-team plans, several other established individuals could also prove useful for Morocco this summer.

24-year-old Hakim Ziyech has been in fine form for Ajax of late, as has the once widely coveted Mehdi Benatia, previously of Bayern Munich and now plying his trade for Italian giants Juventus. The current Serie A favourite could be the one to lead by example for the Moroccans in Russia.

Benatia is strong yet athletic. His ability to read the game is both rugged and refined, whilst his overall defensive capabilities remain some of the best in Europe. Although the Moroccan has been forced to play second-fiddle at times for Juventus, he is now considered one of their most important assets in light of Leonardo Bonucci’s recent departure.

Morocco set an impressive defensive record throughout qualification for the 2018 World Cup. If Mehdi Benatia can maintain his strong form in Russia this summer, the North Africans may just stand a fighting chance of progressing from their Group B opposition.


What are Morocco’s Group B fixtures?

Iran – If there is one team Morocco can theoretically push aside this summer, its Iran. Group B will certainly provide a difficult set of fixtures to traverse over the course of the tournament, but in Carlos Queiroz’ Iran, Morocco can aim ahead with full confidence in their proposed superiority.

Spain – Morocco’s chances of seeing off the Spaniards remain highly unlikely. Whilst anything is possible upon the often unpredictable international stage, Herve Renard’s team will probably need some kind of miracle to take anything away from the former world champions this summer.

Portugal – Although their chances of defeating Cristiano Ronaldo and co. seem largely unrealistic, perhaps Morocco could well cause an upset here. Portugal are far from a perfectly balanced outfit. If the North Africans can keep things nice and secure among their defensive back-lines, who knows what they could achieve with just a little bit of hard-earned luck on their side.


Morocco’s World Cup Predictions?

In Herve Renard, Morocco play host to a well-versed manager who possesses prior experience of winning international silverware alongside a range of African nations. Renard has claimed the African Cup of Nations trophy of two separate occasions throughout his managerial career, with the aim of transferring his recent fortunes towards the World Cup scene with Morocco.

But of course, both Spain and Portugal are likely to make life difficult for the Moroccans among their opening Group B fixtures. Although Renard’s team will enter the tournament full of newfound hope and enthusiasm, Morocco’s ability to prove their purported World Cup credentials could well falter at the very first hurdle.


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