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Morocco vs Iran predictions, betting tips and preview: 2018 World Cup Group B outsiders seek early boost in St Petersburg

  • Morocco vs Iran preview for their 2018 World Cup opener
  • These teams are aiming to get off to a flyer in Group B
  • Read on for all the match info and predictions
Vahid Amiri (right) in action for Iran (credit: Getty Images)

Morocco and Iran get the 2018 World Cup Group B action under way when they meet on day two of the competition, Friday June 15.

These teams are the clear outsiders to qualify from this pool, with European neighbours Spain and Portugal red-hot favourites to occupy the top two positions in the final group standings.

Morocco vs Iran kick-off time and venue


  • Friday June 15, 16:00 BST
  • Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg

Morocco vs Iran head-to-head stats


  • September 17 2002, LG Cup, Casablanca
  • Morocco 1-1 Iran

This was in a four-team exhibition tournament that also contained Algeria and Venezuela, and this 1-1 draw, followed by a 4-3 victory on penalties, helped Iran to win the competition.

An own goal put Iran ahead in the 26th minute but Ali Ahmed’s last-gasp leveller ensured the outcome would be decided on spot-kicks in the only previous meeting between these countries.

Morocco vs Iran match predictions


Morocco are favourites to make a winning start and if they take the lead, they will hope to hold on to it – when they last contested the World Cup finals in 1998, they were twice ahead in their opening match against Norway but were pegged back both times for a 2-2 draw.

Herve Renard, coach of the Atlas Lions, said after the World Cup draw in December:
“Our first match, against Iran, will be decisive. We have to believe in ourselves.”

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz concurred about the magnitude of this fixture, in which victory for either side would be huge, saying:
“It will be like our final. We will play like we are playing for our lives.  
“Morocco are a great team with fantastic players and a great coach. In qualifying they did not lose a game or concede a goal, so that tells you everything about the quality of the team.”

Morocco vs Iran predicted line-ups


As Queiroz’s comments above allude to, Morocco’s main strength is in defence and their rearguard will be marshalled by Medhi Benatia, who has played at the highest level of European club football for Roma, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

Younes Belhanda (left) in action for Morocco (Getty Images)
But they also have some highly talented players further forward in the likes of Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, on-loan Watford winger Nordin Amrabat and Galatasaray midfielder Younes Belhanda, plus Southampton’s former record signing Sofiane Boufal.

Iran’s hopes will be pinned on a player whom their fans liken to Lionel Messi, the Rubin Kazan forward Sardar Azmoun, who could be joined in attack by former Charlton Athletic striker Reza Ghoochannejhad.

Former Fulham midfielder Askhan Dejagah has had another spell in English football this season with Nottingham Forest, while Alireza Jahanbaksh is a free-scoring winger in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Morocco vs Iran odds


27/20 Morocco (BetStars)
    9/4 Draw (Betfair Sportsbook)
  13/5 Iran (BetStars)

A win for either side would be massive, giving them an early advantage over at least one of Spain and Portugal, and while it would not necessarily lead to qualification from the group, the triumphant team could then set themselves up accordingly for their two clashes with the big guns.

On the other hand, defeat would almost certainly mean elimination and we can see this being a cagey contest between two teams who give little away defensively.

The draw looks a highly likely outcome and a 1-1 correct score appeals at odds of 11/2 with BetVictor.


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Morocco vs Iran predictions, betting tips and preview: 2018 World Cup Group B outsiders seek early boost in St Petersburg

Morocco and Iran get the 2018 World Cup Group B action under way when they meet on day two of the competition, Friday June 15.

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