FIFA World Cup 2018 Group B Prediction

Group B stages one of the ties of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage, with European champions Portugal meeting in-form Spain in Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium on the second day of the tournament, June 15.

The two European neighbours are joined in Group B by African qualifiers Morocco – into the finals for the first time since France 1998 – and Asia’s Iran, who have won just one of their previous 12 World Cup matches.

Read on for the fixtures, group odds and forecasts in Group B…

Teams

Portugal

  • Qualified as winners of European Group B, after bouncing back from defeat in their opening game to win nine matches in a row and top the group.
  • Key Players: World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals in qualifying, and now has more than 80 international goals – putting him third on the all-time, all-nation list of international goals. Ronaldo’s success overshadowed Andre Silva’s goalscoring feats – the Milan striker scored nine in qualifying and passed ten for Portugal at a rate of one every two games. They will be backed by a midfield packed with creativity, including Manchester City’s title winner Bernardo Silva.
  • Last five results:
    • D
    • W
    • L
    • D
    • D
  • Odds to win the tournament: 25/1 (Bet365)

Spain

  • Qualified as winners of European Group G, winning nine and drawing one of their ten games/li>
  • Key Players: This could be the last major tournament for some of Spain’s golden generation, who won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. That includes captain and defender Sergio Ramos, who has now passed 150 caps at the heart of the Spanish defence where he and Barcelona’s Gerard Pique have put their El Clasico rivalry aside to form a superb defensive partnership. Further up the pitch, David Silva was instrumental in Manchester City’s success this season and was one of four Spaniards – alongside Diego Costa, Isco and Alvaro Morata – to score five times in qualifying though Morata is not in the World Cup squad after a poor domestic season). Isco also bagged a hat-trick in the 6-1 friendly demolition of Argentina.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • D
    • D
    • W
    • D
  • Odds to win the tournament: 6/1 (Ladbrokes)

Morocco

  • Qualified as winners of the CAF Third Round Group C, having not conceded a goal in their six games.
  • Key Players: Khalid Boutaib was Morocco’s top scorer in qualifying, thanks to his hat-trick against Gabon. More impressively, Morocco did not concede a goal, with a tight defence led by Juventus’ Medhi Benatia. Ayoub El Kaabi has pushed his case for inclusion in the World Cup squad with 11 international goals so far in 2018, meanwhile, nine of which came in the African Nations Championship tournament in which he made his debut and won the golden boot as he fired Morocco to victory.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • W
    • W
    • D
    • W
  • Odds to win the tournament: 500/1 (Bet365)

Iran

  • Qualified as unbeaten winners of the AFC Third Round Group A, with six wins and four draws – and just two goals conceded – from their ten matches.
  • Key Players: Iran qualified for the World Cup thanks to a solid defensive unit but it was at the other end of the pitch a number of their European-based players came to the fore. That includes AZ’s in-form Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Heerenveen striker Reza Ghoochannejhad. Despite a modest scoring record at club level, Sardar Azmoun is prolific internationally – he scored 23 times in his first 31 Iran appearances.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • L
    • W
    • W
    • L
  • Odds to win the tournament: 750/1 (Betfair)

Group B Fixtures

Morocco

VS15:00 GMTJune 15th

Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg

Iran

Portugal

VS18:00 GMTJune 15th

Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi

Spain

Portugal

VS12:00 GMTJune 20th

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Morocco

Iran

VS18:00 GMTJune 20th

Kazan Arena, Kazan

Spain

Iran

VS18:00 GMTJune 25th

Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Portugal

Spain

VS18:00 GMTJune 25th

Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Morocco

Group B Betting Tips & Prediction

Group Betting

In what is expected to be one of the tighter groups in the 2018 World Cup group stage, Spain are 1/2 favourites to top the group, while European champions Portugal are 2/1.

Morocco are 16/1, while Iran are 33/1, but realistically it will be between the two European teams – and their opening fixture will be key in determining which of them goes through.

In head-to-head fixtures, Portugal have won just six of their 36 previous games against Spain, but two of those have come in the last four matches. Spain, however, are the form team and will be expected to go through as group winners.

Group Qualification Yes/No

Unsurprisingly, given their expected dominance, group qualification has less value in it. Spain are 1/16 to go through, while Portugal are 2/9.

Morocco may have been defensively sound in qualifying, but they have not past the group stages in either of their last two tournaments – and those were back in 1994 and 1998 too.

Iran, meanwhile, have not won a match in either of the last two tournaments they have qualified for, in 2006 and 2014. Their form in qualifying was good, but they will not expect to usurp Spain and Portugual.

Group Forecast

The key then is to predict which order Spain and Portugal will finish, and there is a little more value in opting for a group forecast bet than a straight group winners bet.

Realistically, it should be between Spain and Portugal for first and second, if both sides play to their full strength, and you can get 6/5 on Spain topping the group ahead of Portugal with Bet365 and 11/4 on Portugal topping the group ahead of Spain.

To Finish Bottom of Group

Iran are narrow favourites to finish bottom of Group B at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as indeed they did in their last two World Cup campaigns. Bet365 are offering 5/6 on Iran finishing bottom and 5/4 on Morocco earning the ‘wooden spoon’.

That said, Iran are unbeaten in their two previous head-to-head meetings – albeit, they have not played each other since 2002. Nevertheless, if the likes of Jahanbakhsh can break down Morocco’s stubborn defence it could be the African team finishing bottom.

Group B Recommended Bet

Spain and Portugal should go through with little drama, with the only point of note being which of them tops the group and gets the theoretically more favourable route through the knockout rounds.

here is more value in picking a group forecast bet than a straight winner’s pick, given how unlikely it seems that either Iran or Morocco will grab a top-two spot. 1st – Spain, 2nd – Portugal will land you 6/5 with Bet365.

Group B prediction

Spain (6/5 to finish 1st ahead of Portugal with Bet365)

Portugal (2/9 to qualify with Bet365)

Iran (1/9 to not qualify with Bet365)

Morocco (5/4 to finish bottom of the group with Bet365)

Which Teams will qualify from Group B?

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