The final group match for both sides will be crucial for very different reasons. As group favourites, Spain should be looking to win to achieve top spot and progress to the second round as the number one seed, while Morocco will already know by now whether a draw or better will help clinch an unlikely spot in the Round of 16.
Morocco will have already come up against one European giant in the group stage and will be able to apply mostly the same tactics against a strong Spanish team. With the benefit of two matches under their belt, perhaps the Africans can get something out of this one.
Spain on the other hand have been slow starters in the past, losing their opening match at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, although by this stage of the tournament are normally switched on and focussed. If Morocco aren’t on their game we could see a huge victory to the former champions.
Context is always a factor in the third group stage matches. There is a possibility that Spain won’t need to win to progress to the next round, and they may therefore rest their big names for the Round of 16. Morocco are unlikely to be in the same position, and will surely field their strongest lineup against the Spanish. In any case, they would probably find it tough against the fringe Spanish players.
Given that Spain may not be at their best, you would do yourself a disservice by placing a wager too early. The current odds see the Europeans at -279 – overwhelming favourites – although in the event Spain don’t need a victory you will see better odds available. Morocco enter at +800, while the draw starts at +379.
We’re sticking with Spain regardless of the team that walks out on the field. The squad is simply too good to be losing to the likes of Morocco. Our early pick is a comfortable 3-0 victory.
When: Monday, Jun 25 (2pm ET)
Where: Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
TV: FOX, Telemundo*