Morocco vs Iran
It can only be described as a crucial game for both teams. Not only because it is the first match for these sides, but also because it is the most reasonable chance to get a victory. Group B is already settled according to many experts in the football world but I beg to differ. Morocco, nor Iran are any pushovers. For that reason, it will be incredibly exciting to follow this encounter.
Morocco might have qualified for World Cup in the most impressive fashion by any team in the world. They went through the African qualifiers with an 11-0 goal difference, meaning not a single goal was conceded. Regardless of the quality of the opponents - any team would feel good with such a record when coming into a major competition. Morocco can be divided into two layers.
The first layer begins in their defense, where they have strong leadership and experience. Not least by Juventus center back Mehdi Benatia, and Wolverhampton's Romain Saiss who played 42 matches in Championship this season. As if the experience was not enough, the mixture of talent is evident with 19-year-old Achraf Hakimi on the left back, from Real Madrid.
Attacking wise, this is the most underestimated team in the World Cup. Hakim Ziyech from Ajax possesses the technique to unlock many situations. He is also a reliable goal scorer which he has proven in Netherlands Eredivisie for several seasons. 20-year-old wonder kid Amine Harit from Schalke 04 has got the highest transfer market value for his age and could be a surprise.
Coach Herve Renard prefers a 4-1-4-1 formation. The inner midfield consists of hard-working players who make it incredibly compact to penetrate.
Iran is also defensive specialists with Carlos Queiroz on the sideline. I have previously labeled them as being an organized success, due to their undefeated record in the Asian qualifiers where they only conceded two goals. Regardless of their opponents, they tend to keep games tight until the end. If you remember 2014 World Cup, Argentina needed 91 minutes to score the winning goal against Iran. Even if it was 4 years ago, the framework remains the same.
Offensively, it is a bit toothless apart from Sardar Azmoun, who actually plays in the Russian league. Iran has already suffered from two losses in 2018 pre-preparation against Turkey (2-1) and Tunisia (1-0) which is rare. On the opposite side, they have scored in three consecutive matches and potentially found some opportunities in the final third.
This match will almost decide the faith of these teams, completely. They are similar in many ways, but Morocco having the more offensive talent and variety. Player by player, they are superior. It will be stingy in general but I have picked Morocco to be the dark-horse team of this tournament. That being said, I see Morocco coming up one level above Iran and clinch a narrow victory. Due to it being an opening game, the draw cannot be excluded either. For those reasons, draw no bet.
Morocco vs Iran prediction
Morocco 0 Asian handicap @ 1.54 with Pinnacle