Matchday 7 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup features Portugal and Spain in action in Group B, while the in Group A, Uruguay will look for a better performance against a Saudi Arabia side still smarting from the heavy opening defeat to Russia. Check out a brief preview on each match below, with a selection of recommended bets on each.
All pricing comes from Ladbrokes and are correct at the time of writing.
Portugal v Morocco (1:00pm Wednesday)
Portugal take on Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium with plenty of expectation around Cristiano Ronaldo after his superb hattrick against Spain, while Morocco will look to pick themselves up after the late defeat to Iran.
Portugal’s display against Spain was more than just the Ronaldo show, with the side starting and continuing on the front foot in the first half. Even when Spain pulled level and eventually took the lead, heads did not drop and the belief throughout the side they display since lifting the European crown was rewarded when Ronaldo curled in a superb equaliser.
Morocco played well against Iran and dominated possession, with the likes of Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi impressing, however it was upfront where the side struggled, as they squandered numerous chances, with winger Nordin Amrabat unable to impress in the striking role. Disaster struck in the 95th minute when Bouhaddouz put into his own net.
Morocco will have their work cut out to stop Portugal on current showing and while the lack of goalscoring options is a concern, Portugal are by default an attacking side, so there will be opportunities for the North African side to find the net.
Portugal To Win And Both To Score @19/10
Ronaldo To Score First @11/5
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (4:00pm Wednesday)
The fourth match from Group A takes place at the Rostov Arena as Uruguay look to pick up their form after scraping a victory against Egypt, while for Saudi Arabia, the only way is up after being hammered 5-0 by hosts Russia.
Uruguay huffed and puffed to a victory over a very workmanlike and tenacious Egypt side, thanks to a late goal from Jose Gimenez. Barring Diego Godin and Edinson Cavani, the South Americans struggled with Luis Suarez especially looking poor.
There was some expectation on Saudi Arabia’s shoulders after some strong performances is warm-up games, but when Denis Cheryshev scored Russia’s second goal, there was no way back for the side. More concerning for head coach Pizzi, is the way his side capitulated at the end, yes there were some good goals scored but there was no fight left in the side
A reaction is expected from both sides here, with Uruguay needing a better performance, if they hoping to go deeper into the tournament, while the Saudi’s can only improve. Uruguay to win and Edinson Cavani to continue his fine form and pick up a goal at least here.
Uruguay To Win 2-0 @9/2
Edinson Cavani To Make 1+ Assists @6/4
Iran v Spain (7:00pm Wednesday)
Iran take on the might of Spain in Kazan with the Iranians picking up only the second World Cup Finals win in their history against Morocco last time out, while Spain played out a superb 3-3 draw with Portugal as the side put aside the Julen Lopetegui drama.
Iran rode their luck against Morocco, with the Africans enjoying plenty of the ball in a fractious game, Carlos Queiroz’s side played deep and countered successfully. Despite looking more likely to concede, it was Iran who picked up the win, thanks to a late own goal on the cusp of full time.
Spain’s managerial issues seemed to have little effect on player performances, as they battled from behind twice to secure an opening point in the Iberian derby. The Spanish were surprised by Portugal’s flying start but slowly began to turn the screw. However that hard work was undone with David De Gea’s uncharacteristic error. Spain fought back again with two goals in six minutes, before Ronaldo inevitably completed his hat-trick.
This game will suit both sides, with Iran happy to play deep and defend, while Spain will hold the vast majority of possession. If Spain can score an early goal, I do fear for Iran, with the Spaniards almost unplayable with their tails up.
Spain -2 Goal Handicap @13/8
Diego Costa To Score 2 Or More Goals @3/1
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