WC 2018 Group B: Spain Portugal Iran Morocco

Discussion in 'GROUP B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco' started by +PL+, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Salas033

    Salas033 Member

    Juventus
    Dec 15, 2017
    United States
    Nat'l Team:
    Morocco
    #1801 Salas033, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    In terms of strikers, Boutaib has done really well for Morocco during the WC qualifications. He scored 20 goals last season for Strasbourg in Ligue 2 and scored 11 goals this year so far in the Turkish league. Azarou is also good and scored 17 goals this season for Al Ahly (biggest club in Africa) in Egypt. He is not gonna stay in Egypt long. There is also Ben Charki who could have easily signed in Ligue 1 after winning CAF Champions league a few months ago but chose Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia after they threw 5 million at him. El Kaabi is on fire right now and talking to Athletico Madrid. En-Nesyri in La Liga (Malaga) is only 20 years old and has played 18 games this season. Finally, Mahi plays as a striker for Morocco and he is pretty good, and Munir El Haddadi (owned by Barca) could join Morocco at any moment. Clearly most of these strikers don't have the same credentials as some of the guys that we have in defense or midfield (including offensive wings) but we only play with one striker so I think that we are more than well covered.

    Morocco has a lot of good backups for when El Ahmadi retires or if he gets injured. Saiss's natural position is as a defensive midfielder. Ait Benasser (Caen) is one of the hottest youth in Ligue 1 and is owned by Monaco. Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord) is also a hot young talent in the Netherlands and they actually fought pretty hard for him to join their A national team which can only be a good sign. Yassin Ayoub just signed for Feyenoord and will play there next season, and he also very good. I'm probably forgetting others but honestly Morocco has a lot of good players in every position.
     
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  2. HansWorldCup

    HansWorldCup Member

    Roma
    Sweden
    Jan 10, 2018
    Salas, in africa right now, are Morocco top 3 or top 5 for you ?
     
  3. Salas033

    Salas033 Member

    Juventus
    Dec 15, 2017
    United States
    Nat'l Team:
    Morocco
    I think top three along with Senegal and Nigeria. Egypt is very good and very tough to beat, and while they have a superstar in Salah they don't have the same depth that Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria have. Tunisia is 5th in my opinion.
     
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  4. HansWorldCup

    HansWorldCup Member

    Roma
    Sweden
    Jan 10, 2018
    Ok oki thanks
     
  5. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Morocco will be difficult to rate until we see more from them. On the strength of their September-November performances, they can rate among the top 3 in CAF and even be considered the most in form team in that confederation. The fact that they can, theoretically, even improve on their performances and roster with additional players who haven't played much for them so far, such as Shalke's Amit Harit or Southampton's Boufal, gives Morocco fans even more reasons to be hopeful.

    On the other hand, there are question marks about them raised in the World Soccer magazine article and alluded by me previously which they will need to answer in their upcoming games. The main ones are as follows:

    1- Can they show a cohesive side outside a narrow window of time, despite being patched up together overwhelmingly on the strength of players of Moroccan decent playing in Europe? Or are we going to see them unravel at the first sign of adversity in those circumstances?

    2- Can any of the target forwards MaroFan and Salas033 mentioned show the necessary aptitude upfront to both be able to hold the ball well enough with their back to the net in the transition from defense to offense and score the necessary goals?

    3- Will their coach, who has shown successful in CAF, be able to devise the necessary tactics for facing better organized sides at the World Cup? Or will the combination of Morocco's lack of experience, as a team, internationally and the lack of similar experience from their coach, show that what works in Africa may not work for them in a tournament like the World Cup?

    4- Even if Morocco are able to live up to their potential, would that still be enough for them to shine in this tough group?

    My own view is that Morocco will play its best game against Portugal. Their weakest match will probably be against Spain unless Spain have clinched by the time they meet Morocco. I hope that won't be the case, which is why I will be rooting for a draw between Spain and Portugal.

    The game against Iran, however, will be Morocco's final as it will be Iran's as well. And I really have not yet settled on what would be the likely outcome in that game? If Morocco wins, my prediction is that the score will be 2:1. If Iran wins, the score will likely be 1:0. But while neither side should wish for a draw, that is also a very likely outcome as well. In which case, I don't think either Iran or Morocco will advance from this group.
     
  6. The real contest comes at the end of the competition when both meet in the KNVB Cup Final.
    The Feyenoord defense has been torn apart with injuries during the whole season (we had to put in midfielders in the defense) and most are just back from them without many minutes playing time. So yes, they're rusty.
     
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  7. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Frankly, AZ's defense was much worse. In any case, I am done watching the Eredivisie. It is not good for my health.
     
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  8. Fataliste

    Fataliste Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Fez
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  9. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Iran has also announced its list of players for the friendly against Sierra Leone. Contrary to what Taj (IFF head) had said, the list does contain the players from Iran's clubs in the AFC CL, including Persepolis and Esteghlal. The list also includes two of our foreign based players, namely Kaveh Rezaei and Ramin Rezaeian who play in Belgium. The other foreign based players (including Azmoun, Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Haj Safaei, Masoud Shojaie, Ezatolahi, Milad Mohammadi, Mehdi Taremi, and Morteza Pouraliganji) are not included on this roster but will be called up for Tunisia and Algeria games.

    The game against Sierra Leone makes a bit more sense now since it will both give some of the players who won't be going to Russia but have done well enough to get a positive encouragement from the call up to be called up, while it also gives a look at some of the players who will be competing for roster spots along with the regulars from Iran's domestic based players who will be part of the team.

    The 22 player list announced is as follows:

    Rahsid Mazehri (GK - Zobe Ahan), Alireza Beiranvand (GK - Persepolis), S. Hossein Hosseini (GK - Esteghlal), Hamed Lak (GK- Foolad); Ramin Rezaeian (Ostende), Vouria Ghafouri (Esteghlal), Mohammad Khanzadeh (Padideh), S. Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Saeed Aghaei (Sepahan), Mohammad Ansari (Persepolis), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ali Karimi (Sepahan), Ahmad Abdollahzadeh (Foolad), Kamal Kamiabinia (Persepolis), Omid Noorafkan (Esteghlal), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa), Ali Alipour (Perspolis), Kaveh Rezaei (Charleroi), Vahid Amiri (Perspolis), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa).
     
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  10. MarocFAN

    MarocFAN Member

    May 18, 2006
    Morocco/Germany
    Weird, that he called up Bammou and Bouhaddouz and not Haddad.
     
  11. Fataliste

    Fataliste Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Fez
    Yeah really disappointing
     
  12. Salas033

    Salas033 Member

    Juventus
    Dec 15, 2017
    United States
    Nat'l Team:
    Morocco
    I kind of was hoping we would see Taarabt but he is just coming back from an injury I think.. I have been wondering what he would look like in an actually functioning Morocco team. That dude is so ridiculously talented... What a waste if he never gets to play in a World Cup...

    I was also hoping to see more of Ben Charki but I guess Renard wants to give Bammou another shot. He already knows Haddad and he really likes Bouhaddouz.

    I'm pretty happy with the list to be honest though. Those are pretty much the best players that we have. Feddal would definitely have been there if he wasn't injured.
     
  13. AIL1998

    AIL1998 Member

    May 27, 2012
    Nat'l Team:
    Iran
    Dejagah will definitely be fine for the WC.
     
  14. AIL1998

    AIL1998 Member

    May 27, 2012
    Nat'l Team:
    Iran
    #1814 AIL1998, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    A draw between Spain and Portugal will be the worst result for both Morocco and Iran. You must hope that Spain vs Portugal match does not end up in draw.

    Well if Spain vs Portugal match produces a winner then both Morocco and Iran can advance by drawing the first game and winning against the loser of Spain vs Portugal match. A possible scenario.
     
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  15. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Hope you are right but I am not so sure. He has undergone knee surgery and will miss playing for at least two months. He is not a spring chicken so what shape he will be once he can start training and playing remains to be seen.
     
  16. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    We all have our feelings about the best realistic results in this group and in my way of thinking, the results that are realistic enough and yet see Iran advance begin with a win by Iran against Morocco and a draw between Spain and Portugal. Then for Morocco to draw Portugal, making a draw against Portugal sufficient for Iran to advance while also keeping Spain motivated enough to beat Morocco (something which might not be the case if they have already clinched by their last match).
     
  17. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Anything is possible but that doesn't seem like the most possible. You're giving them only one chance and they have to win.

    Iran and Morocco need 3 points in their first match. Then the winner would have two chances to get another win and advance for sure, or draw and have a shot at advancing with 4 points.
     
  18. HansWorldCup

    HansWorldCup Member

    Roma
    Sweden
    Jan 10, 2018
    Not advance for sure. 3 teams can get 6 points each and they can lose on goal difference.
     
  19. Salas033

    Salas033 Member

    Juventus
    Dec 15, 2017
    United States
    Nat'l Team:
    Morocco
    So what are your predictions for Iran's friendlies? We can see how good you are ;)
     
  20. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    I was trying to figure out why Queiroz was so insistent on Iran playing a side like Sierra Leone on a non-Fifa match day before the Tunisia and Algeria games. And I think I figured it out. Besides wanting to test second choice players to make his roster selections, and give others he knows he can't take to Russia, a chance to play, he wants to build up the kind of rhythm that has worked for him so far. Namely, after a break in international games since our qualifiers and the 3 friendlies that followed them (Russia, Panama, Venezuela), he wants to start off with an easier match which he can expect Iran to win. This to basically to renew the spirit and confidence he has built up with his players through our results the past few years and head to Tunisia on a high note. In that sense, the match against Sierra Leone, setting up the tone and spirit of his side, will become more important than I had initially thought. Not just to decide which players who won't start for Iran in Russia might be taken and which will be left behind, but also to give us a sense of whether his team is ready to start 2018 where it has left off in 2017?

    Of course, I expect Iran to beat Sierra Leone. But if we have a good showing against Sierra Leone, then I think the attitude and atmosphere of the team in 2018 will be back where it was in 2017 and the past few years more generally. And that means I will expect Iran to do as it did then: either win or, at worst, draw its games against Tunisia and Algeria.
     
  21. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    While, of course, I will be interested and will be quite focused to see Iran's upcoming friendly games, I am almost equally curious to see Morocco against the Uzbeks and then the Serbs. Based on what I am seeing from the Uzbeks lately, in particular their clubs sides (which feature most of their national team players) getting hammered by Iranian clubs away in the AFC CL, I am not sure the Uzbeks will be up to put up a good challenge against Morocco in Casablanca. But still I like to see Morocco actually show it can comfortably beat the Uzbeks at home. What will be more interesting for me will be Morocco against the Serbs. After that match, I will be ready to give my predictions about Morocco in this World Cup.
     
  22. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Incidentally, while not jaw dropping or anything spectacular, I was reasonably impressed by the Moroccan players I watched in the Eredivisie, namely Hakim Ziyesh and El Ahmadi. Ziyesh's assist on Ajax's 3rd goal against Heerenveen was truly class. But this Moroccan player who plays for Al Jazeera didn't show anything interesting to me and left baffled why he gets to start for Morocco when they seem to have so many other more notable players?
     
  23. Fataliste

    Fataliste Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Fez
    Players like Boussoufa and Amrabat are something else with the national team.
     
  24. Fataliste

    Fataliste Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Fez
  25. Hayaka

    Hayaka Member+

    Jun 21, 2009
    SF North Bay
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark

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