Group B Preview
One of the biggest stories from the 2014 World Cup was Spain not even making it out of the group stage after winning in 2010. However, 10 of the 23 players on this roster play for either Real Madrid or Barcelona, who have combined to win the last five Champions Leagues. Will the Spanish club dominance in European competitions translate to the international level? Or will Portugal shock the world again and win another major tournament? Or can Iran or Morocco play Cinderella and make it out of the group?
Matches and dates (East coast times):
Morocco vs Iran, June 15th at 11 a.m.
Portugal vs Spain, June 16th at 2 p.m.
Portugal vs Morocco. June 20th at 8 a.m.
Iran vs Spain, June 20th at 2 p.m.
Iran vs Portugal, June 25th at 2 p.m.
Spain vs Morocco, June 25th at 2 p.m.
Spain 9 points
Portugal 6 points
Morocco 1 point
Iran 1 point
Key matchup: Portugal vs Spain
Perhaps the match of group play, and we will get it on the third day of the tournament! Spain still have a few players from their golden generation, but they’re starting to bring in some younger players with world-class potential. And Portugal is coming off winning the 2016 Euros in a game where they didn’t have Cristiano Ronaldo for most of the final against France. This battle of two favorites to win it all should not disappoint, and if there is a winner in this game, the winner should go on to win the group.
This is the first World Cup for Morocco since 1998 and Iran is making its second consecutive World Cup for the first time. Unfortunately for both nations, they are in the same group as Spain and Portugal. The first round of games in this group should be very close, but then Portugal and Spain should beat Iran and Morocco with relative ease.
While Morocco and Iran can consider this World Cup cycle a success since they both qualified, it would be a near miracle if either team went on to the knock-out stage. Both Spain and Portugal are just on another level. Spain is one of the favorites to lift the World Cup at the end of it and Portugal can win any game and tournament as long as they have Cristiano Ronaldo.