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2018 World Cup - Group B Tips & Predictions

Who will win Group B? Which nations will make it through to the knockout stage? Our experts share their tips and predictions.

Group B World Cup Standings

Here's the group standings for Group B at the World Cup. It will be updated after every fixture. 
TeamPlayedPoints
Portugal00
Spain00
Morocco00
Iran00

Group B World Cup 2018 Teams

Portugal

When we think of Portugal and their chances of success at the 2018 World Cup, one name automatically springs to mind - Cristiano Ronaldo. Now 33-years-old, he remains the team’s talisman as he has been since around 2006 and he currently - at the time of writing - has 81 goals in 149 caps for his country.

Winners at Euro 2016, Portugal have assembled a more talented squad to surround Ronaldo with in tournaments prior to two years ago, with the emergence of young talent such as Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho and Andre Gomes.

Portugal qualified for the World Cup with flying colours in the group stages, winning nine of their 10 games but were made to wait until the final game of Group B to secure their place as group winners as they beat Switzerland 2-0.

In an attacking sense, this team were particularly reliable on two players supplying goals, as Ronaldo (15) and Andre Silva (9) combined to score 24 of their 32 goals in the qualifiers, yet marking them out of the game and keeping them quiet is easier said than done.

Spain

Despite winning three of the last five major tournaments they have competed in - including the 2010 World Cup - Spain will come into Russia 2018 with a chip on their shoulder following some extremely disappointing campaigns in 2014 and 2016.

Eliminated at the group stage of the 2014 World Cup and in the last 16 of Euro 2016, they have performed well below par in recent years.

However, with nine wins and a draw from their 10 games in World Cup qualifying in a group which included Italy, they have looked to be back to their best over the past 18 months or so, now looking reenergized thanks to the emergence of young talent.

Still predominantly a possession-based side, Spain will dominate the ball against most who they play with and also boast a strong defence which has the likes of David de Gea, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique within it. Underestimate this team at your peril.

Morocco

Unbeaten throughout qualification without conceding a goal in CAF Group C alongside Ivory Coast, Gabon and Mali, Morocco will go into this tournament with no fear nor pressure on their shoulders.

Both Portugal and Spain are unsurprisingly the prohibitive favourites to progress to the last 16 of the competition, but coach Herve Renard will aim to have something up his sleeve for both of those teams and frustrate them.

Winning the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast, Renard has pedigree at international level in African football and has a squad with plenty of talent at his disposal. Striker Ayoub El Kaabi has 10 goals in just eight caps for his country, while Mehdi Benatia, Mbark Boussoufa and Younes Belhanda make up the spine of the side.

It’s going to be a huge ask for Morocco to come out of this group, but should they open up with a win against Iran, they will have faith that they can upset their neighbours from across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Iran

Russia 2018 represents the first time that Iran have made back-to-back World Cups in their history, having had one on, one off since 1998.

Carlos Queiroz has been in charge of the Iranian national side since 2011 and has done a fantastic job with the squad, earning qualification to the World Cup with two games to spare in a group that included South Korea, Uzbekistan, Qatar, China and Syria.

They were also the third team to qualify for the competition, after hosts Russia and Brazil. Iran are naturally the overwhelming underdog in this group of teams, but will know they have it within them to potentially upset a bigger nation.

Argentina came within a Lionel Messi wonder goal in stoppage time from being held to a 0-0 draw by Iran at the 2014 World Cup and they also held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw.

Group B Fixtures

Friday 15th June - 16:00 BST
Morocco v Iran
Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

Friday 15th June - 16:00 BST
Portugal v Spain
Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi

Wednesday 20th June - 13:00 BST
Portugal v Morocco
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Wednesday 20th June - 19:00 BST
Iran v Spain
Kazan Arena, Kazan

Monday 25th June - 19:00 BST
Iran v Portugal
Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Monday 25th June - 19:00 BST
Spain v Morocco
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Group B Predictions & Betting Tips - World Cup 2018

Group B - Winner Tip

The winner of Group B could all come down to who starts the tournament the strongest, as Spain and Portugal face each other in the first game.

Spain showed in Euro 2016 that they can start strong as they won their first two group games, while Portugal drew all three of their group games in France. 

While Portugal may well have the best individual player on the pitch, Spain’s collection of talent - particularly in midfield - is a level above what their opponents have available to them.

Spain could well have their place in the last 16 secured with a game to spare if they are able to beat Portugal in their opening game and get the job done against Iran in their second match. They would then go on to face the runner-up of Group A, which features Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay.

Group B - Runner-Up Tip

Though we are tipping Portugal to lose their opening game against Spain in the World Cup, the factor of having Ronaldo to call upon in attack, as well as a solid supporting cast, means they should have enough to progress as runners-up.

After Spain, they face a Morocco side that they will expect to defeat and would certainly back themselves in a win-or-bus clash against Iran in their final fixture, particularly with Morocco facing Spain on the same evening.

They showed at Euro 2016 that it is the team who finishes strongest, not the one who peaks early, that goes all the way in major tournaments and expect a similar performance from them this time around.

This could well be the final World Cup of Ronaldo’s career - or at least the last where he is till at the top of his game - and he will be eager to add this trophy to his collection and complete the international set.

Group B - To Finish Bottom Tip

With both Spain and Portugal being backed to progress, that leaves Morocco and Iran as the two sides likely to be scrapping it out to avoid being left dead last in their group.

Looking at the Morocco squad, there’s simply more experience, quality and match-winners within their team than Iran, who will be relying upon collective unity and not much else.

Morocco on the other hand have a number of quality players in their squad with experience of playing in some of Europe’s top leagues, which should give them the edge when the two sides come head-to-head.

Both boast managers that have pedigree at international level and the meeting between the two sides on the first matchday of Group B will be pivotal will in deciding the final standings of the group.

Group B World Cup 2018 - Final Standings Prediction

PositionTeam
1stSpainBack This Prediction
2ndPortugalBack This Prediction
3rdIranBack This Prediction
4thMoroccoBack This Prediction

World Cup Group B Betting Tips - #TeamFT Predictions

Dean Smith

With Spain vs Portugal the stand-out fixture in this group, it feels as though the other opening game between Iran and Morocco is going to be a fight to see who can avoid finishing bottom of the group.

Although Morocco were strong in qualification, they did fail to live up to expectation at last year's African Cup of Nations, going down in defeats to both Egypt and Congo DR, so we feel they may struggle in the tournament atmosphere again this summer.

Iran showed their ability to keep things tight defensively in qualification and indeed at the last World Cup four years ago which could help them to record a better goal difference in the remaining two games of the group stage also. 

Jon Wilde

Rather than backing the 2010 World Cup winners to top the group at 4/7, I'll be more ambitious and place a treble on them collecting the maximum nine points to set themselves up as one of the major contenders to go on and lift the trophy.

The obvious stumbling block is the opener against their neighbours Portugal, but Julen Lopetegui's side do look a cut above all of their three opponents and if they can make a winning start, they will also be fully expected to beat Morocco and Iran.

Phil Lowe

A strong Group B opens with Portugal vs Spain and it is these two nations who look likely to advance to the last-16.

Spain are odds-on to top the group and while the general 2/1 on Portugal finishing as Group B winners will tempt many, I think Julen Lopetegui's side will have the quality to finish ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and co.

With that in mind, I'm going for a Spain/Portugal 1-2 which at time of writing can be backed at 11/10 with BetVictor in their Group B Straight Forecast market.

Vedran Ostojic

While Morocco and Iran will be no easy rivals to beat on any given day, it’s obvious the main battle shaping in Group B is the one for the top spot between Spain and Portugal.

Although the Portuguese have shown off in France two years ago, I don’t feel the side led by Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to outclass star-studded La Furia Roja and I’ll now rather go for Spain to top the Group at 4/7! 

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