The World Cup is an event that captures the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe, and yet there are some games that fail to grab the imagination. Friday’s clash between Morocco and Iran can be added to that list, but for the people of those respective nations there is plenty at stake here – as there is for punters. Our Morocco vs Iran betting tips have been carefully compiled with that in mind.
Housed in Group B alongside Spain and Portugal, it would be a huge surprise if Morocco or Iran managed to progress to the last 16.
But then, don’t forget that the Spaniards failed to get out of their group at World Cup ’14, and after sacking boss Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday there is every chance that their camp is in disarray – particularly as it has been reported that many of the players wanted him to stay.
So opportunity knocks for these two teams, with three points here a huge boost to their hopes of an unlikely spot in the knockout phase.
Where does the smart betting money lie? Let’s take a look in our Morocco vs Iran betting tips.
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Morocco vs Iran Betting Tips
For what it’s worth, punters can get odds of 7/2 (4.50) and 67/10 (7.70) on Morocco or Iran to qualify from Group B, and those prices are reflective of their chances.
But both sides will want to at least give themselves a chance with victory here, however, don’t expect a slobberknocking goal-fest to ensue, and we’re certainly not proposing that in our Morocco vs Iran predictions.
Just take a look at their qualification campaigns for World Cup 2018: in 16 combined qualifiers, they conceded just two goals between them – the Moroccans kept six consecutive clean sheets in a group that contained capable sides in the Ivory Coast and Gabon.
This is Morocco’s first World Cup appearance in 20 years, while Iran haven’t gone beyond the group stage in their four attempts at the competition.
That will invoke a fear of failure amongst all involved, and so unfortunately we have to report that we aren’t expecting a classic in St Petersburg on June 15.
Lions Ready to Roar?
It has been a long while since Morocco had a generation of players as skilled as those of the mid-90s, where they reached back-to-back World Cups and made the last eight of the African Cup of Nations.
But there are hint – nothing more – that the class of 2018 might just have something about them.
Take their qualifying campaign, for instance. A return of P6 W3 D3 L0, with eleven goals scored and none conceded is promising. At 2017’s AFCON, they reached the quarter finals, and those are signs of real progress from the Atlas Lions.
Their success has been built on solid foundations. Mehdi Benatia, a classy operator heading to Russia on the back of another Serie A winning campaign with Juventus, marshals the backline alongside Roman Saiss, now a Premier League player with Wolves.
Head coach Herve Renard, a two-time AFCON winning manager and a relative expert at tournament football, can switch between a three and four man defence at will, while in midfield Karim El Ahmadi and Mbark Boussoufa provide plenty of experience.
But it is in attack where their most promising player roams. Hakim Ziyech is the focal point, and he notched nine goals and fifteen assists last season for club side Ajax in a stellar campaign.
Ziyech provides the ammunition for either Khalid Boutaib or Ayoub El Kaabi up front; both of whom are perfectly capable of finding the net.
Arabs to Suffer from Gulf in Class
In 12 World Cup matches dating back to 1978, Iran’s formline reads W1 D3 L8 GF 7 GA22.
That gives an indication of how they tend to struggle on the game’s biggest stage, and there is little evidence to suggest that trend will be broken in Russia.
Okay, so they qualified in fine style, and remained unbeaten throughout their ten-game stint. But a below-par South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan, China and Qatar are hardly the kinds of opponent to keep you awake at night.
There is plenty of experience in the squad, but most of the players turn out for club sides in the Middle East, and that hints at a lack of high-quality football week in, week out.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Rubin Kazan’s Sardar Azmoun knows where the goal is, while the excellent Eredivisie-based pair Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Reza Ghoochannejhad will provide thrust in the wide areas.
But Morocco’s greater quality will surely shine through over 90 minutes, and they look a great price of 5/4 (2.25) with William Hill to win this game.
One other aspect we have to touch on in our Morocco vs Iran betting tips is Ramadan, the Islamic period of fasting that precedes the celebrations of Eid.
This is well known to sap power and speed from the legs of sportsmen and women, and while there will be no lacking in effort from these players a slow-paced, action-free affair is likely to ensue.
The consequence of that? A fairly low-key encounter in which we don’t envisage much goalmouth action.
As such, we’re willing to stick our necks out and back Iran not to score at odds of 21/20 (2.05) with bwin.