Group B Highlight: The last standing
So, with Morocco is out of contention, here is the scenario for the rest of each team for them to qualified to the Top-16 knockout stage:
- Iran: have to win no other choice. Even if the unlikely event that Spain lost against Morocco, Iran still need a win because a draw still see Spain go through (Iran lost the direct match against Spain)
- Portugal: have to get a draw or win. Losing means go home.
- Spain: just need a draw. A lost is very risky because if Iran beats Portugal then the goal difference of that lost will mater. If Iran beats Portugal less than Morocco beats Spain, Spain will not go through.
Iran vs Portugal
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- With either team cannot afford to lose, there should be a very good match to watch.
- Yes, Portugal is saved even with a draw, but especially with VAR in action, a penalty kick due to a tiny mistake at the end of otherwise a drawing-game will see them go home. It would be an embarrassing cause with the good performance they have shown so far. The best way to Portugal is to ensure early lead and relax maintaining the advantaged – no need to risk injury or exhaustion for the player. And even if Iran steal a penalty or a goal late in the game, a draw is still a good result.
- Iran on the other hand, have very big match ahead. Team Melli is creating a history if they go through to Top 16 for the first time. And it will make the whole Asian nation and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) proud – especially after a poor performance by the Saudis.
- However, with such a big pressure, Portugal will prevail and win the match.
- I am calling it 2-0 for Portugal.
- And Iran stunted Portugal by forcing a 1-1 draw with Portugal.
- The overall tempo of the game was quite slow but Portugal clearly dominated the ball possessions. (68%). But for some reason, no goal was made.
- Only at the end of first half, a Spain forward Ricardo Quaresma made a powerful and fast kick from outside penalty area and the ball went into the net. 1-0 for Portugal.
- Then a heroic moment for Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand. Ronaldo was tacked hard. It was obvious penalty kick is automatic and Ronaldo did his penalty only to make the ball landed in Ali’s hand.
- At the injury time, 90’+3 Portugal defender Cedric made a handball that saw Iran awarded a penalty kick. Karim do a better job than Ronaldo and scored the equalizer for Iran. What a match!
Spain vs Morocco
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- It is an honour game more than anything to Mexico. Having displayed such a good performance from both previous matches, it is a pity that Morocco did not even get a single win. And is there any better consolation than beat Spain in their last game?
- For Spain, a draw is all they need. So, the same as Portugal, the most economical way to do it is get an early lead and switch to more defensive play after. Preserve resources. Morocco will attack them with all they got as they do not have anything to lose. Hence, Spain needs to observe restraint and steal any opportunity to neutralize Morocco.
- I would think La Furia Roja will prove that they are still a great contender to win this world cup.
- Spain will win 3-1
- It was a 2-2 draw, but Morocco almost scared the shit out of Spain when at 90′ they still lead 2-1. Spain did make the equalizer goal on 90’+1!
- Spain definitely dominated the games with 68% ball possession. but Morroco started with an early goal on 14′.
- Khalib Boutaib snatched the ball from Spanish defender Sergio Ramos near the halfway line and sprint half across the pitch to score the goal single-handedly. What a speedy man! And Spain stunt in disbelief. What a blunder by their defender.
- Immediately, Spain increased the pressure and a good teamwork by Andres Iniesta and Isco 4 minutes later produce the equalizer and the order is restored.
- But Spain cannot maintain a quick lead. Morocco actually took the lead back on 81′ with En-Nesyri scored after making a clean contact to the ball from a corner kick, to put the ball into the net with his header.
- And that was the most intense 9 minutes that Spain felt.
- The final drama unfolded. On 90’+1, Spain put the ball into Morocco net but it was off-side. Or not? A lengthy VAR review qwas done and finally the referee allowed the goal with protest from Morocco.
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The Group B Highlight: The Last Standing
Spain will battle it out with Russia in the Top-16, while Portugal will meet Uruguay