All about the Morocco Team at Football World Cup 2018
Morocco booked their return to the FIFA World Cup after a 20-year absence, topping Africa Group C. Their coach Herve Renard is highly respected throughout Africa, having won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations with three different countries. He took charge of Morocco in 2016 and led the Atlas Lions to their fifth inclusion in the FIFA World Cup. Morocco joins Portugal, Spain and Iran in Group B. Their first match is against Iran on 15 June 2018. One of Morocco’s most famous World Cup wins came against Portugal at Mexico 1986 which they won 3-1 and finished top of their Group.
Tips for Betting on Morocco in the World Cup 2018
For Morocco’s first match against Iran, both teams have come through World Cup qualifying with excellent defensive records. This will be an opening match that neither side will want to lose. Iran and Morocco will expect points to be dropped in the Portugal v Spain match, so a safety-first approach is on the cards. With that in mind a punt on under 1.5 Goals with odds of 6/4 (decimal 2.5) is the hot tip for this game.
The second match for the Atlas Lions pits them against Portugal. It will not be an easy task keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and sharpshooter Andre Silver quiet for ninety minutes. However, the Moroccans do have the defensive organisation to keep their opponents at bay until at least the second half.
Moroccan Medhi Benatia is a key player for Juventus and he can organise a defence which will be well protected by midfielders such as Amine Harit and Nordin Amrabat. There might not be a lot of attacking ambition but it should be noted that this team scored eleven goals during their six qualifying games. Portugal may suffer fatigue following their tricky opening match and they might have to be patient for the breakthrough. The tip for this game is: Half-Time Draw at 21/20 (2.05).
By the third group game, it is expected that Spain will have found their rhythm and they are being strongly backed to beat a Morocco side that who do have their own quality. The Atlas Lions boast players that operate all over Europe and they are accustomed to playing at a decent level for their respective clubs although perhaps not good enough to prevent an early breakthrough. Perhaps 1/1 at HT/FT worth a punt is which is available at evens (Decimal 2).
Betting Odds on Morocco to Win the World Cup 2018
Currently, the outright odds for Morocco winning the World Cup are between 250/1 (decimal 251.00) and 400/1 (decimal 401.00), which leaves them as outsiders. It should be noted that in the last qualifying round, the Atlas Lions, led by captain Mehdi Benatia won every match without conceding a goal. However, bookmakers expect that even with Morocco’s strong defence the quality of Spain and Portugal will out and the two European teams will progress from the group stages. Although a strong and organised defence should not be underestimated and teams possessing this strength have progressed far beyond expectations in tournament football.
Expected Morocco Lineup at the World Cup
For their last game, the team was made up of Munir in goal, defenders Romain Saïss, Medhi Benatia, Achraf Hakimi and Nabil Dirar in defence. The midfield was Karim El Ahmadi, Younés Belhanda, Khalid Boutaïb and Mbark Boussoufa, with and Hakim Ziyech and Sofyan Amrabat leading the attack. Herve Renard has a wide and experienced pool to choose from. Moroccan players are present in many top teams across Europe. These include Real Madrid, Ajax, Juventus, Feyenoord and Schalke 04. There are two potential players for the Atlas Lions FIFA World Cup team based in England. One of these is Romain Saiss who plays in both defence and midfield for Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are currently top of the Championship and hot favourites for automatic promotion to the Premier League. The other is Sofiane Boufal who currently plays for Southampton FC. He is an attacking midfielder who has the ability to score magnificent goals.
Coach Renard has brought discipline and flair to a team developing an exciting brand of football which is based on solid defending and fast attacking tempo. Twenty years after a heart breaking elimination from the group stage at France ’98, the first African team to reach the last 16 are back at the World Cup. The Atlas Lions are the only African team to qualify for Russia without conceding a goal.
Their current success has been built on a solid defence and hard work. The team from Morocco features several promising young talents including Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech and Younes Belhanda. They are also boosted by the experience of Karim El Ahmadi – formerly of Aston Villa, M’barek Boussoufa and Juventus’s Mehdi Benatia plus the strength of Nordin Amrabat. The team’s main weakness used to be on the left but Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi has now admirably filled that gap. It is also worth noting that Nabil Dirar is a versatile midfielder who was a key element of the Monaco side that won the French league title last season.
Herve Renard is in charge but he has excellent support from his assistants, Patrice Beaumelle and Mustapha Hadji, the former Coventry City midfielder. Morocco’s preferred system is 4-5-1 but Renard is flexible and will change his tactics if the situation arises.
Medhi Benatia is a tall, strong, and athletic defender who plays centre back for Juventus. He has excellent technique and the ability to organise his defence, in recent years Benatia has earned a reputation as one of the best centre-backs in Serie A. He is known in particular for his tackling and ability in the air. Born and raised in France Benatia represents his father’s Morocco at international level. He made his international debut in 2008 and represented the nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, earning over 50 caps. Benatia has won the Bundesliga twice with Bayern Munich as well as Serie A and Coppa Italia with Juventus.
Hakim Ziyech is a Dutch-Moroccan and plays as an attacking midfielder for Ajax in the Eredivisie. He is particularly recognised for his great technique and free kick ability. Ziyech was born in Holland and was eligible to represent the Netherlands or Morocco internationally. Ziyech received his first call up to the senior Netherlands team in May 2015. On 23 September 2015, he announced his choice to represent Morocco internationally. Ziyech played exceptionally for Twente across two seasons, scoring 34 goals and making 30 assists in 76 matches. Despite interest from clubs in England, Germany and Italy he moved to Ajax in the summer of 2016.