Morocco vs Iran World Cup 2018
In a group that contains Portugal and Spain, there is a feeling that Morocco and Iran will only be travelling to Russia to make up the numbers. However, both of these sides will enter this fixture knowing that a first round win could see them through to the Round of 16 providing they can achieve a point against either of their European opponents.
What is clear is that this match will feature a clash of defences, and it’s hard to see where a goal will come from. Iran of course qualified for the tournament with that incredible run of 12 consecutive clean sheets, and in fact have not lost a competitive fixture in regulation time since the last World Cup. Morocco have been similarly effective at the back, failing to concede a goal in their qualification campaign.
So how do you split teams who regard defence so highly? What we can be sure of is that neither team will want to draw this match. A point against the weakest side in the group (besides themselves) will only make the task easier for Spain and Portugal. Then again, neither side will want to lose, and neither have an out and out match winner in their ranks.
Iran showed in recent friendlies that they are able to change their game plan and press higher up the pitch; this was seen in matches against Russia, Panama and Venezuela who you could argue are about the same level as the Moroccans. From what we have seen, it could be Iran who dominate the play in this one.
Yet Morocco have also shown promise and are undefeated so far in 2018. Friendly wins against Estonia, Slovakia and Uzbekistan may not necessarily come as a surprise, although their March win over Serbia is a fantastic result.
It’s sure to be a low-scoring affair if history is an accurate indication – both sides score an average of less than a goal per game at the World Cup. We don’t like to sit on the fence, and are leaning towards an Iranian win, but feel as though there is a huge chance of a 0-0 draw here, which will frustrate both sets of fans.
It’s all very tight in terms of odds, and we’re surprised to see Morocco slightly ahead at +122. Iran are out at +267 which is a great value punt, but for us it has to be the draw @ +197.
Morocco vs Iran Preview
While we have expressed concerns over each team’s ability to break down the defence of their opponents, Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech is perhaps the creative spark that could lead Morocco to victory here. The Netherlands-born player is fantastic at free kicks, and it is at set pieces that the northern African nation may be at their most potent.
Herve Renard’s decision to cut Southampton midfielder Sofiane Boufal from the 23-man squad should see Ziyech start in all three matches. If the Moroccans do score, expect him to be the one hitting the back of the net or at the very least claiming an assist. Make sure you await confirmation of the final lineups before making a betting decision though (i.e. goal-scoring markets).
While Morocco have not appeared at the World Cup since 1998, Iran will enter the tournament with many players boasting experience at the world’s biggest sporting event. This is an important consideration – players who are yet to perform at a World Cup can easily be overwhelmed, and this is one reason why Iran may edge this game.
Again, it will come down to the forwards, as the defensive unit is tried, tested and extremely sound. If you’re looking at goal scorers, you can’t go past Sardar Azmoun, who has a fantastic strike rate at the top level. He has already scored 22 goals for his country and plays his club football in Russia so he will feel right at home.
Head to Head Alternatives
This is a tough match to pick, so you may choose to steer clear of traditional head to head betting and look into the plethora of markets available on each World Cup match.
The first option you can take is to try a live bet – this will allow you to gain a feel for the match and work out for yourself which side has the best chance of victory. Odds will fluctuate as the game progresses, and as long as the game remains scoreless the price for either team to win the match will become more favourable. Bide your time and there is a big chance you will get better odds.
The other top options for this match appear to be in relation to the number of goals. Our analysis leads us to believe that very few goals will be scored. The goals over/under market is overwhelmingly in favour of there being less than 2.5 goals and is priced at -256.
Similarly, the both teams to score line will give you -189 for ‘no’, meaning that your bet will be honoured if only one (or neither) team scores. This is our number one recommendation for this match.
Finally, it is always worth picking the score. With such a heavy focus on defence, and an overwhelming chance of less than 2.5 goals being scored, your options are limited to 0-0, 1-0 and 1-1. These options range from around +430 to +606, and are great for low value bets.
Group B Betting Odds