Morocco’s Run of Form
Morocco was drawn into Group F alongside Croatia, Belgium, and Canada. In their first game, Morocco played against the runners up of the 2018 World Cup, Croatia. The African team performed well, putting Croatia on the back foot and finishing the match 0-0. Some may say that Morocco may have deserved to win, as they registered more shots against the Croatians despite the lower ball possession. In their next game, Morocco played against Belgium. Belgium was the favourite to win the group, though they had an ageing squad. The Belgians could not score against the Moroccan defence, and finally, Morocco scored 2 late goals to win the match. In their final game, they came against Canada, who had not won a single game up to that point. Morocco beat Canada 2-1 and finished top of the group.
Morocco met Spain in the round of 16, a proven side who had won the World Cup and also reached the semi finals in the last European Championships. Spain was heavily tipped to win, and although they registered more shots against Morocco during the game, neither team could open the scoring. Neither team scored during regular time nor during extra time, and then the game went to penalties. Here, Spain was also the favourite to win, as they had practised many penalty shootouts after losing to Italy in the 2020 European Championship semi finals. Unfortunately for Spain, they failed to score any of their first 3 penalties. Morocco scored 3 penalties and won the penalty shootout, qualifying for the quarter finals.
Portugal’s Run of Form
Portugal was drawn into Group H, where they had to play against Uruguay, Ghana, and South Korea. Though Portugal may have been the favourites to win the group, they had some stiff competition. In their first game, the team played against Ghana. Portugal took the lead and dominated the early stages of the game, but Ghana gave them some resistance The game ended 3-2, though Ghana had a chance to score a third goal through a mistake by the Portuguese goalkeeper but the Ghanaian striker slipped and the Portuguese defence quickly came to the rescue. In their next game, Portugal faced the their toughest group opponents, Uruguay. Neither team scored in the first half, and then Portugal scored in the 54th minute. Portugal was awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of injury time, and Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty, ending the game 2-0. As Portugal had won their first two group games, they already qualified for the knockout stage. In their last group stage game, Portugal lost to South Korea 2-1, after South Korea scored the 91 minute winner.
Portugal finished top of the group with 6 points, and in the round of 16 they had to face the Group G runners up, Switzerland. Fernando Santos, the head coach of Portugal, decided to field Goncalo Ramos in attack and benched Cristiano Ronaldo. The gamble paid off, as Ramos scored a hattrick and Portugal won the game 6-1.
Which Players to Look Out For
Hakim Ziyech plays in the Premier League for Chelsea, and he is an integral part of the Morrocan team. He announced his retirement from international football in the year, due to disagreements with the manager of Morocco at the time. Morocco replaced their manager, and fortunately, Ziyech returned to the squad. He can be devastating not only with his crosses and mazy runs but also with his long shots that can catch goalkeepers off guard. In addition to Ziyech, Morocco also has Sofiane Boufal and Youssef En-Neysri, who play in attacking positions and are lethal in front of goal. Achraf Hakimi scored the winning goal in the penalty shootout against Spain, and the young right back is a highly rated player. He is known for being pacey in defence, stopping the opposition strikers, going forwards and contributing to the attack.
This may be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup, and he is still breaking records. He became the only player to score in 5 World Cups when he scored against Ghana. The Portuguese forward has cemented his record in history, but can he win Portugal the World Cup? Many other players have also shone in Portugal’s 2022 World Cup campaign. Pepe is 39 years old and he is still commanding the defence, alongside some truly talented players such as Ruben Neves, Raphael Guerreiro, and so on. Bruno Fernandes has provided 3 assists and 2 goals in his 3 World Cup games for Portugal, and he is a contender for the Golden Ball. Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, and Rafael Leao have also contributed to Portugal’s success. In the most recent game, against South Korea, Goncalo Ramos was the star player. The 21-year-old striker scored a hattrick, sealing a place amongst the last eight and giving Portugal huge momentum for the quarter finals. He may not start in the remaining games, but the young Portuguese forward has caught the world’s attention and he has the potential to shape Portugal’s destiny in this World Cup.
Morocco vs Portugal Betting Opportunities
There are many bets lined up for the clash between Morocco and Portugal. There are bets on the match result, handicaps, total goals, and other popular selections. If you want to go into more detail, you can bet on which team will win the first half, which team will score the first goal, will a team keep a clean sheet, what the winning margin will be, will a team reverse the result, and many other similar types of bets.
In a match with so many high profile players such as Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and the most recent inclusion, Goncalo Ramos, you can go straight to the tasty player bets. There will be bets on which players may score during the game, where you can check the odds on all the top players in the game, and even bets on which player will score the first goal, last goal, whether a player will score during the match at all, and many more.