WORLD CUP PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

WORLD CUP PREVIEW Tues: Morocco v Spain

Luis Enrique’s Spain side will be looking to secure safe passage to the World Cup Quarter Finals with what – at least on paper – looks to be somewhat of a one-sided tie against Morocco.

A 2-1 reverse to Japan was the only real blemish on Spain’s group stage returns and they’ll fancy themselves to have too much quality for the North Africans.

Key to Spain’s success so far has been centre forward Alvaro Morata, despite being much maligned for parts of his career, Morata seems to find another level when playing for his country, a record of a goal every two games tells its own story in that sense, and he’ll once again be central to a lot of the intricate passing networks Spain attempt to establish against Morocco.

The Atlas Lions will be no pushovers though after an impressive Group Stage return that saw them finish top of Group F, unbeaten through all three games. The highlight was of course a 2-0 victory over Belgium, but there are rightly questions over that form, with stories about rifts in the Red Devils’ camp coming to light after being knocked out. That doesn’t diminish Morocco’s achievements though, and they’ve got plenty of quality going forward to give the Spanish back line something to think about before committing too many bodies up the field.

Morocco v Spain
FIFA World Cup 2022 Last-16
15:00ITV1 / STV / ITVX / STV Player

LAST FIVE STATS

HEAD-TO-HEAD
JUN 2018 WORLD CUP Spain 2-2 Morocco

MOROCCO
SEP 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Morocco 2-0 Chile
SEP 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Paraguay 0-0 Morocco
NOV 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Morocco 3-0 Georgia
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Morocco 0-0 Croatia
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Belgium 0-2 Morocco
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Canada 1-2 Morocco

SPAIN
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Portugal 0-1 Spain
NOV 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Jordan 1-3 Spain
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Spain 7-0 Costa Rica
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Spain 1-1 Germany
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Japan 2-1 Spain

 

I tipped it up in a previous Morocco piece, but I think booking points could be an interesting market to consider for this one. Spain will see a huge majority of the ball, and their style of passing between their midfield and forwards is quick and incisive, lending itself to fouls by Moroccan players where they’re a fraction too late to their assignment and catch a player. You can get 1/1 on over 42.5 booking points for the match with starsports.bet – that includes Spanish cards too – a price I think is more than fair given the tough-tackling nature of the Moroccan midfield.

Whilst Morata might be Spain’s biggest goalscoring threat – and will more than likely get on the scoresheet if they do indeed prove to have too much – I remain unconvinced by some facets of his finishing ability, meaning the 10/3 on him to score first is slightly too much of a risk to take, instead I’d be looking at the 13/10 available on him to score Any Time, no others really stand out in the market as Spain’s style opens up avenues for basically anyone on the pitch to score, though Ferran Torres at 6/4 has possibly the best scoring instincts outside of Morata so would be a not-so-close second.

For a final pick I wanted to try my luck with the handicap market once again, with France -2 just falling short last time out. While I don’t have that same level of confidence in Spain, I think they’re a very good bet to win -1 at 7/4, Morocco perhaps benefitted from playing a Canada team with nothing to play for in Matchday 3, and will find Spain a considerably tougher assignment both to break down and hold off.

DANIEL BUTLER


RECOMMENDED BETS

BACK Over 42.5 booking points 2pts at Evens (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Spain -1 2pts at 7/4 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (WORLD CUP 2022): LOSS 35.83 points (after matches on Mon 5 Dec, includes TWO GOOD bonus on CAMEROON v SERBIA 28 Nov)
(Will include returns from both the OUTRIGHT and SPECIALS previews too)


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