World Cup Preview: Portugal vs Morocco - Recent Form, Predictions, Team News & More
Portugal face off against Morocco at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday in Group B's second round of games.
Portugal will be looking to build on the impressive performance which secured them a valuable point against favourites Spain in their World Cup opener. Cristiano Ronaldo once again showcased his quality and importance to the national side, scoring all three of Portugal's goals in the 3-3 draw.
Morocco, on the other hand, suffered late heartbreak against Iran in their opening fixture of the tournament. The Lions of the Atlas were the bett er team for much of the game, but Aziz Bouhaddouz's unfortunate own goal seconds from time meant they left Saint Petersburg with no points. Consequently, HervÃ© Renard's side will need to beat Portugal in order to stand a chance of progressing to the next round.
Portugal and Morocco have met once before back in the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
The Moroccans were drawn into Group F along with Poland, England and Portugal and, unsurprisingly, they weren't expected to last too long in the competition.
Nevertheless, two impressive performances against England and Poland had secured them a respectable two points, and they headed into the game against Portugal knowing that a victory would guarantee them a place in the next round.
Abderrazak Khairi gave Morocco the lead in the 18th minute with a superb 25-yard strike. Just ten minutes later, Khairi was at it again, volleying in a cross from 12 yards out. Amazingly, Morocco continued to dominate and Abdelkrim Merry made it 3-0 in the 60th minute, finishing off a fine flowing move with an equally impressive finish.
Portugal did get a goal back through Diamantino Miranda in the 80th minute, but it was too little too late and Morocco ran out deserved 3-1 victors to top the group ahead of England.
Morocco were eventually beaten 1-0 by West Germany in the round of 16.
Recorded last six games:
Both managers will have their whole 23-man squads to pick from with neither side suffering any injuries nor suspensions in their opening games.
Portugal (4-4-2): Patricio; Guerreiro, Fonte, Pepe, Soares; Silva, Moutinho, Carvalho, Fernandes; Silva, Ronaldo
Morocco (4-2-3-1): Mohamedi; Amrabat, Benatia, Saiss, Hakimi; Boussoufa, Ahmadi; Zlyech, Belhanda, Harit, Kaabi
Portugal aren't necessarily a one man team but they are heavily reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo, who isn't immune to having an off day. If Ronaldo performs against Morocco like he did against Spain, his side will stand a great chance of winning.
Prediction: Portugal 2-1 MoroccoSource: Google News Portugal | Netizen 24 Portugal