Spain face Morocco in their final Group B matches, which is a face-off between the top and bottom of the group. Spain need a draw to guarantee that they progress to the knock-out stages. Meanwhile, Morocco are already down and out.
Spain v Morocco
Road so Far
Spain are unbeaten so far, with a win over Iran and that exciting 3-3 draw with Portugal. Thus, they are in good stead coming into their match against Morocco. Meanwhile, the opponents have been unfortunate to not get something out of their two matches. Both of their fixtures against Portugal and Iran ended in 1-0 defeats. Now they must play for pride, and to win themselves a shadow of glory. After 20 years away from the World Cup, it is the least they deserve.
David Silva has been incredibly influential for Spain. Against Iran, he was unfortunate not to have found the back of the net. He creates chances from anywhere around the 18-yard box, and he can score goals as well as pick out a deft pass to unlock a defence. The Manchester City player is one to watch out for in this next match, should Spain choose to select him.
Diego Costa is the joint second highest goal scorer in the tournament. His three goals have all served to get Spain points in their matches so far. His goal against Iran was nowhere near as impressive as his many turns and cutbacks against Portugal, but nevertheless, he is in the right areas to score. Morocco must be wary of his physical presence and deal with his bullying game.
Medhi Benatia is a top defender and will help to manage the threats of Silva and Costa. So far, he has marshalled a defence that has only conceded the two goals. At this point in the tournament, goal difference is meaningless to this defeated nation. However, a win against Spain could help provide some fleeting glory. He is the defender with the physicality and the calm mental awareness to help his nation leave the tournament gracefully.
Hakim Ziyech was kept quiet in their match against Iran. However, he did produce one moment of quality, with a swerving shot to the bottom left corner, well saved by Alireza Beiranvand. The 25-year old Ajax player is capable of creating the kind of chances Morocco need to grab a goal against Spain. However, it is a little worrying that against Iran he failed to really perform. Spain will only bring better defenders and more discipline. He needs to step up a gear to give his opponents some work to do in their attempts at progressing in this World Cup.
This match should only really go one way. Spain still must get a draw to progress, whilst Morocco play for their own personal pride. It is likely that Spain will do all they can to secure the top spot in the group, with their top personnel involved. However, should Morocco decide to create a hard-fought match, this could still be an interesting watch.