Morocco haven’t featured in the World Cup finals for 20-years since 1998 in France where they failed to advance from a group containing Brazil, Norway and Scotland. This will be their 5th ever World Cup that they have qualified for they made it past the group stage once in 1986 but then lost 1-0 to west Germany in the round of 16.There are 32 teams at the World Cup this year so how does it look for the Atlas Lions? Well the bookies haven’t favoured them in any sense of the word with odds of 500/1 there is thought to be a very slim chance of them being able to beat the world’s best teams.This year Morocco have been placed in one of the trickiest groups this year containing both Spain and Portugal, two teams that are ranked within the top 6 international teams. It will certainly be a massive achievement for them to get out of this group as those two teams are real contenders to win the competition this year. Also in the group is Iran who I think Morocco could definitely beat without any real issue.
Morocco’s Team for this Year’s World Cup
The squad is managed by French manager Hervé Renard who has achieved plenty of success with African international teams in the past. His most notable successes are winning the 2012 AFCON with the Zambian national team and then doing it again in 2015 with Ivory Coast. He has been the Moroccan manager since early 2016 and recently signed a new contract until 2022 meaning he plans to really put his all into the side.Although you may not associate Morocco with big name players they certainly have some strong ones with in their team. Names such as Juventus’ Medhi Benatia and Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal are certainly players that can make an impact on games and should by no means be underestimated.
How Morocco Qualified for the World Cup
As they are one of the higher ranked African teams they were able to bypass the first round where all the lower ranked nations play a game to determine who goes through to round too the second round. Then the 40 teams in round 2 are paired up to play a home and away series that would determine who made it through to round 3. Morocco were paired up against Equatorial Guinea and would play the first game at home on the 12th November 2015 and kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win. Unfortunately, Morocco lost the last game 1-0 but this didn’t matter as they would progress though on aggregate. This meant Morocco were well on their way to qualifying for their first world cup in 20 years.For the third round the remaining teams were put into 5 groups with only the winner of each group progressing to the 2018 World Cup. Morocco were placed in a group with Ivory Coast, Gabon and Mali which proved to be no problem for them as they didn’t lose a single game and comfortably secured their place at the World Cup.
Odds on Morocco Winning the Cup
Morocco are currently ranked number 39th in the FIFA World Rankings and with the bookies offering odds of 500/1 you probably wouldn’t look at them as a team that would have much chance of getting very far at all. Those factors combined with the fact that they have been put in a group with Spain, Portugal and Iran gives them a very slim chance of making it though the group stage let alone taking home the trophy.However, if they did perform well as a team as they have done in their group stage and managed to land second place in the group behind Spain or Portugal who could they be playing next? Well they would play the winners of group C which SHOULD be France if all goes according to how we’re predicting it to, this game would be very difficult for the African nation as France are one of the top 10 ranked teams in the world and up there with the favourites to win the competition.
Morocco’s Successful Campaign Qualifying
A big part of their success this year has to be their defensive play. They conceded no goals at all during the qualification stage but still managed to score the joint most goals during the stage. This is partly due to captain their Medhi Bentaia who plays in the CB roll at Juventus after recently making a move from German giants Bayern Munich. He plays at the highest level and is a great leader on the pitch and could be very important for Morocco going into the competition.
Chances of Morocco Winning their Group
I don’t think Morocco could have gotten a tougher group than the one they have so progressing could be really hard for them this year.The first game they will play is on the 15th June 2018 against Iran who look to be the weakest team in the group by a long shot having odds of 750/1 to win the competition this is a game that Morocco need to win on both legs to have any chance of getting out the group stage.The next team in line for them to face is Portugal who as of late have seen some great successes such as winning the European championship back in 2016 and more recently picking up third place in the Confederations Cup last year. Their front many Cristiano Ronaldo has won many things, but he’s yet to win a World Cup and with age creeping up on him there is potential this could be his last world cup so he’ll want to do everything in his power to win it.The final game they’ll have to play in the group is against Spain who haven’t been beaten since late 2016. They are currently 4th favourites to win the competition and have a team stacked with quality players from all around the world such as De Gea, Ramos, Iniesta and David Silva. The winners from 8 years ago will be looking to win this group and will have real expectations to go far in the competition and Morocco shouldn’t have much chance against La Roja’s.
Morocco’s World Cup Fixtures
Click on the fixtures below for more up to date match information, odds and betting details.
Morocco V Iran, Friday 15th June – St. Petersburg at 4 pm
Morocco V Portugal, Wednesday 20th June – Luzhniki, Moscow 1 pm
Morocco V Spain, Monday 25th June – Kaliningrad, 7 pm