As we continue analyzing each group ahead of the FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 Draw, we look deep into Group B and what’s in for the teams.
Group B sees 2010 winners Spain and current European champions Portugal drawn with Morocco and Iran, who are managed by Portuguese Carlos Queiroz.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo plays with several of Spain’s players for Real Madrid and has been managed by Queiroz with Portugal, as well as working together at Manchester United. Portugal will attempt to become the fourth nation to win a back-to-back European Championship and World Cup (following West Germany, France and Spain).
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- Portugal Had a very good last year winning Euro 2016 and qualifying For World Cup 2018 by topping the group.
- The second seeded team in Group B is Spain which eliminated Portugal in the last 16 on the way to winning its first World Cup in 2010.
- Spain were world champions in 2010, as well as European champions in 2008 and 2012.
- Morocco will be making their first appearance at a World Cup finals in 20 years next summer. Their best performance came in Mexico in 1986 when they reached the last 16, where they were beaten 1-0 by eventual runners-up West Germany.
- Morocco topped a tightly-contested African zone Group C to secure qualification to Russia 2018, pipping Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali.
- This is the fifth time Iran have qualified for a World Cup, but their only victory in the tournament remains a 2-1 win over the United States at France 98.
- Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Australia’s Tim Cahill, Mexican Rafael Marquez and Spain’s David Villa have all scored in three World Cups. The record is four – jointly held by Brazil’s Pele and Germans Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo scored 15 goals for Portugal during their World Cup qualification campaign. He has been voted the best player in the world four times, he is the country’s most capped player and also their record goalscorer.
2. Sergio Ramos
Caption of Spain’s national team Sergio Ramos will be their key player. Winner of the 2010 World Cup, The FIFA’s Best Defender has responsibility of his team on his shoulder and will look to repeat triumph of 2010.
3. Medhi Benatia
Defender Medhi Benatia is extremely highly rated at the Italian champions Juventus, who signed him on a permanent deal from Bayern Munich this year following a successful loan spell. The 30-year-old is Morocco’s captain and has 52 caps to his name, five of which came during a 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in which they did not concede a goal.
4. Sardar Azmoun
Striker Sardar Azmoun is arguably Asia’s best striker since his compatriot Ali Daei, who scored more international goals than any other male player. The 22-year-old Azmoun is strong with both feet, and in the air, and plays club football for Russian side Rubin Kazan.
June 15, 2018
Match 3: Portugal vs Spain, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, 11:00 pm
Match 4: Morocco vs Iran, Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, 8:00 pm
June 20, 2018
Match 19: Portugal Morocco, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, midday
Match 20: Iran vs Spain, Kazan Arena, Kazan, 11:00 pm
June 25, 2018
Match 35: Iran vs Portugal, Mordovia Arena, Saransk, 11:00 pm
Match 36: Spain vs Morocco, Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, 11:00 pm
(All times are in IST)