World Cup News 25.6.2018 06:55 pm

Preview: Spain vs Morocco

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (L) jokes with Spain's goalkeeper David De Gea (R) during a training session at Krasnodar Academy on June 17, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (L) jokes with Spain's goalkeeper David De Gea (R) during a training session at Krasnodar Academy on June 17, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Eliminated Morocco unlikely to trouble Spain.

Spain just need to avoid defeat against already-eliminated Morocco (a 1/16 chance) to secure safe passage to the last 16 but in truth should be able to get the three points without too much fuss here.

The fixtures have worked out kindly for Spain, who face a team with nothing to play for while Portugal must face a motivated Iran side having already had to battle to victory over Morocco.

But with Morocco now having no chance to progress, it’s surely unlikely they will compete as ferociously as they did against Portugal on Matchday 2. A competent Spain display should be enough to secure three points, while they should also feel confident of edging out Portugal on goal difference too given the contrasting motivation of their two opponents.

It all adds up to an unpleasant night for Morocco. They have nothing to play for, but Spain will be motivated not just to win but to win well with top spot in the group at stake

Spain made a sluggish start against Iran having been caught out early in the opening game against Portugal. Expect them to put that right here and go for Morocco from the outset. The 10/11 on offer for Spain-Spain in the HT/FT market looks a fine price.

Spain to win to nil at a slightly larger 20/21 also looks decent given Morocco’s failure to find the net in either of their first two games in Russia when there was still plenty at stake.

A surprising feature of Spain’s play has been just how much of a focal point Diego Costa has been to their attacks. A team that has even played without a traditional striker at times has instead relied on him for three of their four goals to date.

He’s 7/2 to score the opening goal in this one and with confidence high and no real standout threat he’s an obvious favourite and could easily be a point shorter in the betting based on what we’ve seen from Spain so far – for better and worse.

·         Spain to win to nil at 20/21

·         Diego Costa to score the first goal at 7/2

 

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