World Cup 2018: Group A and Group B gameweek two Preview

On Wednesday, Group A and Group B of the World Cup continues, as a number of teams face vital games. Here is what is happening on another busy day of football in Russia:

Portugal v Morocco (Kick-off 1 PM)

Portugal showed great resilience to come back from 3-2 down against neighbours Spain in the group opener to draw 3-3. Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was the key figure grabbing a hat-trick.

The draw has changed very little for Fernando Santos’ team, as they are still the favourites alongside Spain to make the knockout stages. The Selecao will be highly confident of recording just their second win in their last seven games World Cups.

At the beginning of the competition, Morocco were seen by some as dark horses to qualify for the knockout stages. However, a surprise 1-0 defeat against Iran will make it very difficult for the African side to qualify for the last-16.

Herve Renard side cannot afford to suffer defeat in this game if they are to have any chance of making the last 16 for only the second time in their history at the World Cup.

Keeping Ronaldo quiet will be the key to picking up a positive result. The fact they kept clean sheets in their last qualifying games will give them hope.

Prediction

Portugal win and under 2.5 goals

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (Kick-off 4 PM)

Uruguay headed into this competition as favourites to win Group A. However, La Celeste kicked off their Group A campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Egypt.

Oscar Tabarez’s side needed a last-gasp winner from Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez to make the breakthrough after strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez failed to hit the target.

The South American side will fancy their chances of producing a better display and result against a Saudi side who were woeful in their game against Russia.

Things can only get better for Saudi Arabia at Russia 2018. A 5-0 hammering at the hands of hosts Russia did little to dismiss the Asian side as the weakest in the group.

The good news is that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side could probably not play as bad against Uruguay. No doubt Pizzi will make changes to his starting line-up. They simply cannot afford to lose this give if they want any hope of making the last-16 for only the second time.

Prediction

Uruguay win and over 2.5 goals

Iran v Spain (Kick-off 7 PM)

Iran’s late 1-0 win over Morocco was only their second ever at World Cup’s at their 13th time of asking. In fact, they had lost eight of their previous 12 games at finals.

The win underlined Iran’s danger to opponents at Russia 2018 after a superb qualification campaign, in which suffered no defeats in 18 outings.

However, the Asian team face a far tougher challenge against one of Europe’s most talented teams in Spain. An unthinkable Iran win would more than likely seal a place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Spain were hit by the exit of boss Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. However, a 3-3 draw in their opening game against neighbours Portugal was not an awful result. In fact, they showed tremendous fighting spirit to twice come back from a goal down to lead 3-2, only for Ronaldo to score a late free-kick.

Despite Iran’s good record in qualifying, Spain will be highly confident of winning this clash. La Roja enjoyed a highly impressive qualification campaign themselves and they are in a different league to their opponents when it comes to quality.

Prediction

Spain win over 2.5 goals

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