Morocco provide final obstacle for Spain in Group B

Morocco provide final obstacle for Spain in Group B

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Spain vs Morocco – Monday, June 25, 19:00BST/20:00CEST/21:00 MSK – Kaliningrad-Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia

Spain vs Morocco will take place at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

Spain vs Morocco will take place at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

For Morocco, this tournament is over. A surprise defeat to Iran on matchday 1 was followed with a heroic effort against a defensive-minded Portugal side that did very little beyond destroying.

As a result, Morocco will be going home despite taking a promising squad to this tournament. But while the tournament will be over for Les Lions de l’Atlas, they can still influence the final standings of Group B.

While for Morocco this tournament is over for Spain there is still much to play for. La Furia Roja drew their opening match with Portugal 3-3 and then defeated Iran 1-0 in what was overall a difficult match.

Spain need to collect at least one point from the match, or not lose with more than one goal difference, against Morocco otherwise La Furia Roja could pack their bags should Portugal and Iran draw their match in the other match.

Given that there is nothing left to play for, and that Spain now had enough time to recover from the dismissal of head coach Julen Lopetegui, who was fired after agreeing to take the Real Madrid job just days ahead of the start of the tournament.

Spain, in general, are one of the favourites in the tournament and despite a rocky start will underline that status on matchday 3 with a resounding victory against Morocco.

Spain vs Morocco – Players to look out for:

Diego Costa #18 – Spain (Atlético Madrid)

Much like Iran Morocco will be sitting deep in this match and, as a result, Atlético Madrid forward Diego Costa will be crucial in this match. The Brazilian-born forward has both the edge and the goal scoring instinct to force a goal when playing against deep-sitting defensive lines. But Costa is much more than just penalty box striker as his goal against Portugal on matchday 1 demonstrated -winning the ball at the edge of the box he danced past several defenders to score a beautiful goal.

Diego Costa scored a stunning goal against Portugal on matchday 1 (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Diego Costa scored a stunning goal against Portugal on matchday 1 (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Amine Harit #18 – Morocco (Schalke)

Amine Harit is one of the young and upcoming talents to watch. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder plays his club football for Schalke in the German Bundesliga where he managed three goals and seven assists in 31 Bundesliga games this season. Harit was a significant factor in Schalke finishing second in Germany behind Bayern München. Born and raised in France Harit played his national team football for the country of his birth and only switched allegiances to Morocco in October 2017 when he was capped in the World Cup qualifier against Gabon.

Amine Harit (l.) could be one of the breakout players at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Amine Harit (l.) could be one of the breakout players at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain vs Morocco – Match Stats

  • Spain and Morocco have only met twice in history. Spain defeated Morocco twice (1-0 and 3-2) in the playoffs to the 1962 World Cup.
  • Spain have won three out of four World Cup games against African opposition and have always at least scored two goals.
  • Morocco are already eliminated and have now been eliminated at the group stage in four out of five tournaments.

Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Spain vs Morocco – 3-1

Spain vs Morocco – Lineups

Spain:

Formation: 4-3-3

de Gea – Alba, Pique, Ramos, Fernández – Koke, Busquets, Iniesta – Isco, Diego Costa, Silva

Head Coach: Fernando Hierro

Morocco:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Munir – Benatia, Saiss, Amrabat, Hakimi – El Ahmadi, Boussoufa – Ziyech, Belhanda, Harit  – Boutaib

Head Coach: Herve Renard

Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada.  Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.

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