Moroccan resistance to challenge Portuguese
Morocco dumped Spain out of the World Cup in the last 16 in one of the best knockout shocks in living memory.
Portugal put on a show in dropping Cristiano Ronaldo and seeing an incredible improvement to dismantle Switzerland to a 6-1 scoreline.
Fernando Santos’ men will be coming up against a much more organised backline in Morocco, but there may be some hurdles for the North African side to jump over along with being heavy underdogs for this fixture.
Nayef Aguerd, Noussair Mazraoui and Romain Saiss are all injury doubts following knocks sustained against the Spanish and losing all three would likely see this match take on a very different outlook.
Portugal had not looked convincing at any stage during the groups, there were some extremely hairy moments in their 3-2 win over Ghana, the 2-0 victory over Uruguay flattered them, and levels dropped to lose 1-0 to South Korea in the last match.
Goncalo Ramos introduced himself on the world stage with a hat-trick of classy finishes against the Swiss, and that will strike fear into the Morocco side, who contained Spain with relative ease considering the territory that they conceded.
They have extra minutes in their legs and there could be some sort of emotional hangover from the elation of getting past Luis Enrique’s men.
Therefore, it is understandable to see why Portugal are so short, with strong group stage performances not being a necessary prerequisite to a deep run at a World Cup.
Bruno Fernandes has been excellent all tournament long and could utilise the space between lines that Spain were unable to.
However, with the chance that Portugal take time to break down Morocco, and do not need to win the game in 90 minutes to progress, I am more comfortable settling on a goals angle for this fixture.
The Asian goal line looks slightly appealing, but if Portugal score early again then that angle could take a different shape, therefore both teams to score no feels like the shrewdest selection.
Morocco have scored in seven of ten.
Morocco have conceded in two of ten.
Morocco have seen both teams score in two of ten.
Morocco have seen over 2.5 goals in four of ten.
Spain have scored in eight of ten.
Spain have conceded in four of ten.
Spain have seen both teams score in three of ten.
Spain have seen over 2.5 goals in six of ten.
Post bet chat Marcus's Tips:
1-0 Morocco, the first African side ever to reach the semis.