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Morocco vs Spain, FIFA World Cup 2022, Today Match Prediction

Al Rayyan, Education City Stadium




Spain face tricky last-16 test against giant-killers Morocco

  • Spain have been handed tough Round of 16 tie against Morocco after finishing 2nd in Group E
  • Morocco were unbeaten as they topped Group F, beating Belgium along the way
  • Winners will face Portugal or Switzerland in Quarter Finals

Spain to win 2-1

Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Al Rayyan, Education City Stadium

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Teams that win the World Cup often build into the tournament, starting solidly before upping their game in the latter rounds.

Spain appear to have done the opposite so far. After starting off with a bang in their opening game, besting Costa Rica by a thumping 7-0 scoreline, Spain failed to win either of their next two games.

Ending with a disappointing defeat to Japan, Spain now face a tricky test against an underrated Morocco side that topped their group ahead of Croatia and Belgium.

Indeed, it was their victory over Belgium that made the world sit up and take notice of Morocco, who have turned one or two heads so far at this tournament.

They have one or two standout names, but on the whole they rely on hard work, high energy and strong organisation. Everything that this Spanish side will hate.

Morocco Preview

Predicted Finish: Round of 16

Reasons to be cheerful:

     Conceding just one goal during the Group Stage

     Eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions

Reasons to be fearful:

     Only the second time they’ve reached this stage

     Achraf Hakimi faces late fitness test due to slight injury

If there is to be a shock in the Round of 16, you feel that this could be the game where it happens. 

Morocco entered this tournament completely under the radar, despite winning seven of their eight qualifying matches. 

Their draw against Croatia was largely seen as a positive, while victory told us as much about their qualities as it did about Belgium’s decline.

Having only conceded one goal at this World Cup, an own goal against Canada at that, you feel as though they have the tools to frustrate Spain for long periods. They will have watched how Japan kept them at bay for most of their game.

It goes without saying that Morocco will be without the ball for much of this game. That shouldn’t faze them, though. With quick players in key areas, they have the directness to play through this Spain team.

Star Man – Hakim Ziyech

Has a goal and an assist so far at this tournament and the Chelsea man is beginning to make things tick for his country. His pace and trickery will be key to breaking the lines behind the Spanish defence.

Spain Preview

FIFA Ranking: 7

Predicted Finish: Quarter Finals

Reasons to be cheerful

     Morata is in great form right now

     Joint-highest goalscorers in the Group Stage

Reasons to be fearful

     Were eliminated at the last World Cup at this stage

     Appear to have lost momentum from the opening win

In finishing 2nd in Group E, Spain avoided a clash against Croatia, which some have suggested would have been the trickier fixture. 

That is unlikely to be the case, however, judging by the quality within this Moroccan team. If Spain underestimate them, they do so at their peril. They will need to work hard to break them down.

Spain’s main problem has been converting their possession into genuine chances in front of goal. Pedri and Gavi could control the ball in their sleep, while Busquets is a legend in midfield.

While Morata has been scoring goals, he needs more balls played into the box, whether that be crosses or passes over the top. 

They face going out at the World Cup Round of 16 for the second time in a row, a result that would be a massive disappointment for this squad.

Star Man – Alvaro Morata

With three goals in the group stage, he was the tournament’s joint-top scorer heading into the knockout stages. The more chances Spain’s midfielders give him, the better their chance of success.

     Spain to dictate possession as always

     Both teams to score

     Could need extra time

Spain’s ideal game would be to have over 70% possession, score a couple of goals early on and then smother Morocco for the rest of the match.

We know how organised and energetic this Moroccan team are, however, and you cannot see that scenario being likely unless they collapse under the pressure of being at this stage of the tournament.

In reality, you can see wave after wave of Spanish attack hit upon Morocco’s defence, with their attackers then looking to counter.

We could need extra time to separate these two teams, although Spain’s quality should eventually pull through.

Spain to win 2-1


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Author: Ross B.