|The two underdogs to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup from Group B Morocco and Iran meet on Friday afternoon in St Petersburg.
Morocco have now qualified for the World Cup finals on five occasions. However, Russia 2018 will be their first finals appearance in two decades. Their biggest achievement at the finals to date is making it to the knockout stages back in 1986.
Their recent record at World Cup finals tournaments is not great, as they have recorded just one win from their last seven games while suffering five defeats in that poor run.
However, Herve Renard’s side has been in impressive form of late winning 14 of their last 18 games, while remaining unbeaten in the process. They have also been prolific in recent games, scoring at least two goals in seven of their last eight outings.
Like their opponents, this summer’s World Cup will also be Iran’s fifth appearance in a finals tournament. The Asian nation has failed to progress beyond the group stages in four previous finals appearances.
In fact, they have recorded just one win in their 12 games at the World Cup, which came back in 1998. They have also lost five of their last seven finals games, scoring just three goals in the process.
Iran has a mixed recent record in international football. However, they have lost just two of their last 16 games. Last time out the team from Asia recorded a 1-0 over Lithuania.
Interestingly, these two sides have never met in a competitive fixture. Both are underdogs to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, with Spain and Portugal the other teams in the group. If either is to have a chance of making the last 16 of the competition then is a must-win game.
Sportseconds predicts that the North African side will record a victory in a tight and low-scoring encounter.