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World Cup Preview: Day 7

Posted by Will Dent
Posted on Tue 19 Jun 2018
Posted in News

We reach day 7 in the tournament and its definitely shaping up nicely. The rampant Russian hosts continued their amazing scoring start to get the second round of games underway. The entertainment doesn’t end there with 3 tasty games coming our way.

Match 1: Portugal Vs. Morocco- 13:00 K.O.

Ronaldo will be looking to add to his best personal best World Cup haul of 3 goals tomorrow as his side take on a Morocco side who tasted defeat in their opening fixture.

Portugal are in a strong position a win against the African side, who they face for only the second time, would see them on their way to qualifying for the next round. Whereas Morocco, on the other hand, must win to have any hope of qualifying. A defeat for them and a positive result in the Iran vs Spain game would see them on an early flight home.

No surprises as Portugal look favourites to take the three points here, although as we’ve seen time and time again in World Cup tournaments, you can never write off the underdog.

Portugal do, however, go into the game off the back of a very strong performance against their Iberian rivals, Spain, and they look to have a wealth of attacking options at their disposal. While Morocco suffered a defeat in the dying moments of their opening game to Iran. Despite being the better side in the game, they still seemed relatively lacklustre and don’t really seem to have the quality to cause Portugal too much harm.

Match Facts*:

  • Before the opening match, Ronaldo had scored just three goals in 13 World Cup appearances.
  • Morocco had 68% possession in their 1-0 defeat to Iran, the most by a losing team in a World Cup match since June 2010, when Spain had 73% possession against Switzerland but lost 1-0.
  • Their only previous meeting came at the 1986 World Cup. Morocco’s 3-1 victory was their first ever win in the tournament.
  • Portugal have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since June 2002 (W5, D3), in a 1-0 defeat to South Korea.

Watch live on BBC One from 12:30pm

Match 2: Uruguay Vs. Saudi Arabia- 16:00 K.O.

After a narrow win in their opening game of the tournament, through an 89th-minute header, Uruguay will be hoping to grab all three points against the Arabians.

Despite the very underwhelming attacking display from the sky blues in their first game, the tremendous talent of Cavani and Suarez will surely be able to find a way through this shaky Saudi defence. And after failing to score in the opening game, the two mercurial forwards will be hoping to notch their first goals of the tournament.

Saudi meanwhile were very poor in their first game against the hosts, and if the lowest ranked team in the tournament can score 5 past them, then a team with two of the worlds best finishers? Well… we’ll have to wait and see.

Match Facts*:

  • They have lost just one of their last nine World Cup group games (W5, D3), winning five of their last six.
  • The Uruguayans have also won all three of their previous World Cup games against Asian opponents, scoring five and conceding just once.
  • The Saudis have finished bottom of their group in their last three World Cup appearances and are on an 11-game winless run at the World Cup finals (D2, L9) dating back 24 years.
  • Saudi Arabia have failed to score in eight of their last 10 World Cup games and didn’t register a shot on target in the 5-0 defeat to Russia on Thursday.

Watch live on BBC One from 15:40

Match 3: Iran Vs. Spain- 19:00 K.O.

Spain look to kick on and claim a vital 3 points as they aim to finish in that all important top spot ahead of Portugal. Despite winning their last game against Morocco, Iran will be lucky to get anything from this game. They failed to register a single shot against their opponents in the second half during their previous match.

The Iranians don’t look as though they’re going to cause the Spanish any serious problems. They will be looking to see off their opponents comfortably before they head into their final group match.

Spain looked strong after they had found their rhythm against Portugal last time out. Their fast, free-flowing and tireless play will probably prove too much for their opponents on the day. With their industrious midfield providing endless ammunition for their superb striking options, Iran look to be in serious trouble.

Spain are expected to name an unchanged side, that means probably sticking with De Gea in net despite the mistake that cost his side a goal against Portugal. Meanwhile, Iran suffered a setback as key defender Rouzbeh Cheshmi is ruled out of the rest of the tournament through a training injury.

Match Facts*:

  • Diego Costa has scored eight goals in his last eight international starts for Spain – he scored with both of his shots on target in their 3-3 draw with Portugal.
  • Spain have been eliminated at the group stage in two of the last three World Cup tournaments in which they have failed to win their first match (1998 and 2014) – however, they won the tournament on the other occasion, doing so in 2010 despite losing their first match to Switzerland.
  • In their 1-0 victory over Morocco, Iran became the first team since 1966 to score a goal without attempting a shot during a half of World Cup football – their winner was a 90th minute own goal by Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz.
  • Their last three World Cup goals have all come in the final 15 minutes of matches – they have never scored before the 36th minute at a World Cup,

Coverage on ITV from 18:30

*Via BBC Sport website

Read more posts by Will Dent

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