Morocco vs Spain Match Analysis & Prediction
06/12/2022 6:00 pm
The second-last World Cup 2022 last-16 clash takes place at the Education City Stadium on Tuesday, as Morocco go head to head with Spain.
La Roja finished second in Group E to set up a tie with the Atlas Lions, who fended off Croatia and Belgium to finish first in Group F.
With the golden generation of Belgium under-performing and Croatia struggling to find a consistent attacking spark, Morocco took full advantage to secure a surprising first-placed finish in Group F with seven points from the available nine.
Even in their goalless draw with Croatia, the praise largely went to Walid Regragui’s side, who followed that point up with successive victories over Belgium and Canada to become one of only two African teams in the last 16 of the World Cup, the other being Senegal.
During their matchday three game against Canada, Hakim Ziyech took advantage of of a blunder from Milan Borjan to chip the Canucks goalkeeper from distance in the fourth minute, and Youssef En-Nesyri scored the second before a Nayef Aguerd own goal gave the Canadians a slight glimmer of hope.
However, Morocco held on for the three points that would send them through to the knockout stages as group winners, and the 2022 competition marks only the second time that the Atlas Lions have got this far, having been eliminated in the last 16 in 1986.
Luis Enrique’s side failed to hang on to a one-goal lead against Japan on the final matchday in Group E, where Alvaro Morata’s 11th-minute opener eventually counted for very little against Hajime Moriyasu and his perennial super subs.
Japan restored parity three minutes after the restart, and only three minutes later, Ao Tanaka scored the winners after Kaoru Mitoma had only just managed to keep the ball in play.
Had Spain placed first in the section, they would be facing Croatia in the last 16, so finishing as runners-up may be seen as a blessing in disguise by some, but Enrique is under no illusions as to how difficult Tuesday’s game will be.
Morocco and Spain will be facing off in the World Cup four years on from meeting in the group stages in Russia, where La Roja were indebted to a late Iago Aspas equaliser in a 2-2 draw, and a similarly close contest should be on the cards at the Education City Stadium.
Morocco vs. Spain Head to head
These two nations have previously met on just one occasion in the World Cup in 2018, where they played out a 2-2 draw.
Morocco Team News
Morocco number one Yassine Bounou felt unwell just before the victory over Belgium and had to withdraw at the last second.
However, he was able to compete the full 90 minutes against Canada and will expect to form part of an unchanged XI, while Achraf Hakimi is expected to be passed fit despite ankle problems.
Morocco's Last 5 Matches
Spain Team News
Enrique was without the trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, Dani Olmo and David Raya in Friday’s training session, although Olmo was just believed to have been rested after a gruelling group period.
Nico Williams and Alejanndro Balde were handed starts against Japan, but Ferran Torres and Jordi Alba will expect to return to the side.
Spain's Last 5 Matches
23/11/2022Spain7Costa Rica0World Cup
Morocco vs. Spain: Odds and Predictions
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