|Portugal go into their second match of the World Cup tournament level with Spain on points. A win against Morocco will put one foot in the knockout round for Fernando Santos’ team.
Morocco are coming off a last-gasp goal loss to Iran in match one. The Moroccans fought hard but came up short thanks to an own goal. Morocco missed a golden opportunity to get points against Iran and they now face Cristiano Ronaldo who is in fine form.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Spain has whet the appetite of football fans. Ronaldo was superb against Spain and his third goal levelled the score between the two teams. Portugal need another attacker to step-up against Morocco and balance out the team’s scoring. Goncalo Guedes didn’t look up to the quality of his fellow attacker Ronaldo. The 21-year-old made several poor decisions with the ball when Portugal had an overload on the counter attack. Santos may choose to pair Ronaldo with Andre Silva. It would give Guedes the chance to come off the bench and make an impact. It would also give the youngster the opportunity to be fresh for Portugal’s third fixture against Iran.
Portugal’s defence will breathe a sigh of relief as Morocco’s attack is far from the bullying beast that Spain possessed in Diego Costa. Morocco managed three shots on goal in their first World Cup match. Portugal allowed six shots on target from Spain.
Morocco will be without right-back Nordin Amrabat. The defender suffered a concussion against Iran that left him unable to stand on his own. The loss of the team’s starting full-back will give Portugal licence to exploit the left flank. Morocco kept 68% of the possession in their opening game. The team won’t have as much of the ball against Portugal. However, Morocco could play better on the counter attack than they did as the aggressor. Portugal only had 33% of possession against Spain, but Fernando Hierro’s side was always going to hold onto the ball for long periods. Now Portugal will see roles reversed.
Portugal will play a 4-4-2 formation once again. Santos likes pairing Ronaldo up front with another striker which allows the two to play off each other. Morocco will come out with a 4-2-3-1 formation once more. The two holding midfielders will give the back four some protection from Ronaldo’s direct runs. However, the one striker will have difficulty getting through Portugal’s rearguard.
Ronaldo’s fine form and a determined Portugal will see off Morocco in game two of Group B. The Portuguese will get a big win and Ronaldo will most likely find his name on the scoresheet once more.
Portugal vs Morocco Preview and Predictions
Under 2.5 goals
Portugal to win