Group B of the 2018 World Cup has a distinctly Iberian feel to it with Spain and Portugal set to do battle. There is no doubt that the two European teams are the favourites to qualify for the knockout stages but Morocco and Iran will do everything in their power to upset the odds.

Spain are the odds on favourites across the board to win Group B but the prices could change very quickly as their key match against Portugal takes place on the second day of the World Cup at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

Spain to Get Their Campaign Off to a Good Start

Spain are not just the favourites to win Group A at 4/9 with William Hill, they are one of the favourites for the entire tournament. Julen Lopetegui wasn’t what you’d call a massively popular appointment but he oversaw a strong qualifying campaign and has an enviable combination of talent, experience and exciting younger players at his disposal.

Spain don’t quite play the tiki-taka football which brought them so much success in 2008 and 2010 but they still play in an attractive and effective way under Lopetegui. He is helped by the likes of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and David Silva who have masses of experience on the biggest stage while Diego Costa offers brute force and power up front.

There is no time for Spain to find their feet with that crunch game against Portugal but they should be fully prepared for that encounter. Backing Spain to win Group B seems like a sensible enough play while it may also pay to back them in their opener with an odds comparison showing the best price is the 9/10 Betfred are quoting.

Lightning Highly Unlikely to Strike Twice for Portugal

Many football fans believed that the European Championships used to be a tougher tournament to win than the World Cup because of the concentration of top quality teams. There was no hiding place when Europe’s 16 best national sides competed but the challenge has been distilled a little by the move to increase the tournament to 24.

Portugal are a case in point. Nobody can justifiably claim that they were the best side in Europe in 2016 and they only won one match inside 90 minutes. Yet they somehow managed to do enough to win the tournament. Take nothing away from Portugal, winning ugly is still winning, but they’re simply not going to repeat the trick in Russia.

Any team with Cristiano Ronaldo in it has an advantage but away from Portugal’s talisman the quality levels don’t reflect a team with a genuine chance of winning the World Cup. They should have enough quality to ensure safe passage out of Group B at the expense of both Morocco and Iran however. Therefore, consider a bet on Spain finishing first and Portugal second in their group at 5/4 with Bet365.

Iran to Prove They Are No Pushovers

Iran don’t have a plethora of players who British football fans would instantly recognise but they certainly have a manager who is well known for his time in English football. Carlos Queiroz had a long association with Man Utd where he was the assistant manager on two occasions before managing Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.

Queiroz took Portugal to the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup before leaving his post at his country of origin. He’ll be especially keen to take on a Portugal team that includes some of his former players and he’ll also like to do them a favour by taking something off Spain.

Any positive result that Iran get will be achieved by making the most of their defensive solidity. They showed under Queiroz’s management at the 2014 World Cup that they favour keeping things tight over displays of attacking intent and Iran will certainly make their opponents work for everything in Russia.

Iran do have a chance to get up to speed given that their first match is against Morocco. The Moroccans have some quality players in their ranks – think Medhi Benatia of Juventus, Romain Saiss of Wolves and Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal – but aside from their star players, it’s far from the most talented squad heading to Russia.

Morocco may be able to shine for very short periods but there is little chance of them making it out of Group B at a best price of 10/3 with Coral. The same is true of Iran but they are the side most likely to finish third.


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