When the draw for this group came out, there were a few gasps of excitement from football fans around the world. Especially for one mouth-watering game between Spain and Portugal. This group contains a former World Cup winner and consistent powerhouse in Spain and a top ten nation in Portugal, lead by one of the best players in the world Christiano Ronaldo.
Group B also includes two solid teams from Morocco and Iran, who have been unluckily drawn in this group and will, sadly, only be for third place. If you are betting on teams to qualify from Group B, this is an easy group, as Portugal and Spain will get to the knockout stage with few difficulties. Spain vs Portugal, is the opening game of this group and will determine the group winner ultimately.
Group B World Cup Preview
What the Oddsmakers Say?
Odds courtesy of BetOnline (subject to change)
Team Spain Preview
Spain qualified while going undefeated, topping a group that included Italy. They scored 36 goals and only allowed 3 goals in 10 qualifiers showing that Spain is back amongst the world best. With no losses in all of 2017 and having two wins and two draws in their last four friendlies, Spain is again ready to challenge for the trophy. Their style, known as tiki-tack, includes strong possession, short controlled passes from the back, getting the ball back as fast as possible and completely controlling the tempo of the game. Many countries and teams attempt to copy their style but very few can achieve it. Spain is loaded with stars including De Gea, Iniesta, Costa, Ramos, who will all ensure Spain will go deep into the tournament. I will be betting on Spain to win this group. They are also one of the short favourites to win the World Cup.
Team Portugal Preview
Portugal had an easy qualifying group. They appeared to cruise through the qualifiers because they scored 32 goals. However, following them every step of the way was a tenacious Swiss team who finished equal to Portugal on top of the group. Due to Portugal’s larger goal difference, they ended up finishing first and packed their bags for Russia. Portugal had a disappointing loss in their last friendly to non-World Cup team, the Netherlands. Portugal have still gone 2-1-1 in their last four friendlies, giving them a solid run into the World Cup. Portugal’s style has shifted to be more counter-attacking more so than we have seen in the past. They also rely heavily on Ronaldo as their main focal point. Portugal will be a strong contender in this group and go far in the tournament a la Euro 2016 where they won. However, this is now 2018 and they will not win this group but finish comfortably in second place.
BEST ODDS FOR PORTUGAL TO WIN GROUP B
Team Morocco Preview
Morocco eventually fought their way through the CAF qualifiers while enduring a few hard fought matches. In the final group qualifiers, Morocco rose to the top of a tough group by knocking out heavy favourites, Ivory Coast. Morocco only allowed a single goal in the final stage, so is truly deserving of their spot in the World Cup. Morocco are currently on a small roll winning their last five games including their two friendlies this March. Morocco are a good team with some great young players. They are one of the better defensive teams from Africa, but that will not help them in this group because Spain and Portugal are purely better teams. I predict, Morocco will finish tied at the bottom of this group.
BEST ODDS FOR MOROCCO TO WIN GROUP B
Team Iran Preview
It was impressive that Iran finished as the best team in the Asian qualifiers. The Asian qualifiers are tough not just because of the quality of teams but the variety of climates and travel distance between nations. Iran did not coast through these qualifiers as they drew many of their games. However, Iran did what they needed to do and finished as the best team in Asia. Iran went undefeated in all qualifying rounds in Asia. In there last 7 friendlies since October 2017, Iran have gone 5-1-1 including a 1-1 draw with Russia, their toughest friendly match to date. Iran is a team that grinds out wins and frustrates teams by playing strong defence (most of the time they park the bus and frustrate players). Iran, like Morocco, are unfortunate to be in this group. Iran will not qualify for the knock out stage and will finish joint last in Group B.
BEST ODDS FOR IRAN TO WIN GROUP B
Best Bet To Win Group B
No need for expert analysis here, Spain will win this group easy and like Group A, this is an easy pick for the group winner. They are big favorites at -190.
Sleeper Pick To Win Group B
There is no real longshot in this group but if you want a ‘sleeper’ (or any other team that is not Spain) you could try Portugal, which is still a nice bet at +185. Any team that has Christiano Ronaldo in it can win any game or tournament. I know anything can happen in sports but Morocco and Iran have no chance to win this group.
Group B Predictions
This group will be a two-horse race between Spain and Portugal. Spain will prevail in the end as the strength of their team from top to bottom is pure quality. Portugal will move onto the knockout stages riding the Ronaldo wave. Morocco and Iran will only be numbers in this group and finish jointly at the bottom.
Final Standings Prediction
- 1Spain - 9 Points
- 2Portugal - 6 Points
- 3Morocco - 1 Points
- 4Iran - 1 Points
Game By Game Predictions