Group B sees a group with 2 international titans paired with two teams that no one is giving a consideration for.
Spain are a side that will have huge expectations for this years world cup, with a very strong side and impressive performances in groups and recent friendlies including a 6-1 victory over Argentina. Always consistent, the defensive strength of David De Gea and Sergio Ramos is enough to threaten any forward. They’re a side that will be expected to be very strong defensively and still have a dynamite attacking prowess with the likes of David Silva, Thiago and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings.
Spain’s midfield are going to be very hard to compete with with these 3 running the show. The only real downside for Spain is a lack of an out and out goalscorer, Diego Costa will lead the line but the Spaniard is known for his unpredictability and controversy, which could cause a problem up top. The goals could come from a different source in Isco, who was the teams topscorer in qualifying and would be the pick for team top goalscorer betting as he’s currently sitting at 5/1 with bet365 to be the topscorer in the tournament for Spain.
Predicted group finish: 1st
Moving onto one of the more unlikely teams in the group, Iran who came out on top of their qualifying group with 22 points from a possible 30 with only 2 goals conceded where they also finished an impressive 7 points above South Korea.
Unfortunately that strong defensive record should be taken apart in a group featuring some of the worlds best attacking players, the defensive line made up with 3 out of 5 players in their home nation’s league and barely having any experience against some of the worlds best. The positives to take from this Iranian side are their young attacking forwards in Sardar Azmoun [Rubin Kazan] and Alireza Jahanbakhsh [AZ Alkmaar]. Jahanbakhsh was the Eredivisie topscorer this season with 21 goals and even bagged 12 assists, his threat down the Iranian right side along with Azmoun in the centre could prove troublesome if their oppositions aren’t on their toes defensively.
Predicted group finish: 4th
Next on the agenda is Morocco who too had a very strong qualification run, where they didn’t concede a single goal. In recent friendlies running up to the world cup they’ve been coming through with some very dominant wins against some very awkward opposition.
They have a side littered with some players that play in Europe’s top leagues, including their Captain and main defensive asset, Mehdi Benatia [Juventus]. His defensive strength was clearly vital in a excellent group stage performance with him playing along side their teenage right back Achraf Hakimi [Real Madrid] who has been a breakout player featuring in the Real Madrid first 11 in a handful of games this season. The playmaking midfield of Morocco features set piece specialist Hakim Ziyech [Ajax] and Younes Belhanda [Galatasaray], with Ziyech delivering and creating goals from free kicks and corners on a regular basis the threat is never ending with these underdogs. The two “big guns” need to be very wary of this dangerous side.
Predicted group finish: 3rd
The last competitor of group B are the current European champions, Portugal. The bulk of people would expect the hopes of the Portuguese to be resting on the usual hero Cristiano Ronaldo but considering he’s now 33, it may be time for youthful AC Milan striker Andre Silva to take over. The youngster was a benchwarmer over the course of the season for AC Milan but moving into a more creative Portugal side with the likes of Quaresma, Bernardo Silva, Goncalo Guedes and of course Ronaldo he can get the service he needs, a clinical and composed finisher already this could prove to be his break-out moment.
Pepe will be eagerly watched by all football fans due to his constant controversy and edginess in his defensive style, but for a few years now has always been considered a very strong centre back. This portugal side is aging despite still being a strong side and Ronaldo will be hoping to perform to his best seeing as it could be his last world cup. Morocco are a definite threat and could be worth a dabble in the betting markets currently at 7/2 with bet365 to qualify.
Example group standings:
1st: Spain :9 points
2nd: Portugal :6 Points
3rd: Morocco :3 Points
4th: Iran :0 Points