World Cup 2018, Portugal vs Morocco: Preview, Team News, Prediction, Head-to-Head & Key Stats
Cristiano Ronalda powered Portugal will be up against Morocco. The encounter will be crucial for both the teams as Portugal and Morocco are yet to win a game in FIFA World Cup 2018.
With a scintillating performance against Spain last week, Portugal would be eyeing a top-16 finish. Thus, this game will prove to be crucial for Portugal in the context of their survival in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Morocco will enter the encounter with an aim no less than a victory. The shocking 1-0 defeat against Iran have put them in back seat as they will be playing their remaining matches against two competitive sides.
Cristiano Ronaldo was seen in some sense of unease in the game against Spain. However, he is expected to get back to the groove ahead of the crucial encounter against Morocco.
Nordin Amrabat of Morocco is known to miss the encounter after suffering the concussion in the game against Iran.
Portugal vs Morocco, Group B:
Match Date: 20 June 2018, Wednesday
Match Timing: 17:30 IST, 12:00 GMT
Match Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
Expected Crowd Turnout: With an important group-game ahead for both the teams, the Portugal vs Morocco encounter is expected to witness a jam-packed stadium with a total crowd turnout of 79,400.
Head-to-head in World Cups
Portugal 0 - 1 Morocco. This will be the only second time when Portugal and Morocco will be up against each other in a FIFA World Cup. The last time when both the teams contested each other, Morocco had the upper hand as they won the match 3-1.
Portugal FIFA 2018 WC Squad:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), and Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon).
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), and Ruben Dias (Benfica).
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), and William Carvalho (Sporting).
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), and Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas).
Probable Starting XI
Rui Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Joao Mario, Andre Silva, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Morocco FIFA 2018 WC Squad:
Goalkeepers: Mounir Mohamedi (Numancia), Yassine Bounou (Girona), and Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger).
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), and Hamza Mendyl (Lille).
Midfielders: Mbark Boussoufa (Al Jazira), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), and Amine Harit (Schalke).
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (St. Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax), and Youssef En Nesyri (Malaga).
Probable Starting XI
Monir El Kajoui, Achraf Hakimi, Ghanem Saiss, Mehdi Benatia, Hamza Mendyl, Karim El Ahmadi, Hakim Ziyach, Mbark Boussoufa, Younes Belhanda, Noureddine Amrabat, and Khalid Boutaib.
Stats to look into ahead of the encounter:
Portugal's only loss against African opposition at the FIFA World Cup has come against Morocco.
Ever since 2002 FIFA World Cup, Portugal has never lost a game against a non-European country.
In last 10 World Cup group matches, Portugal has lost only match which came against Germany in 2014.
Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick against Spain in Portugal's previous group game made him the oldest player in the history of the World Cup to score a hat-trick of goals.
Having scored an own-goal against Iran, Aziz Bouhaddouz of Morocco became the only third substitute player to score an own-goal in the history of FIFA World Cup
Portugal vs Morocco: Match Prediction
Predicted score: Portugal 3- 0 Morocco