Human Rights

Portugal, Spain to assert themselves in Group B, Iran to maintain lead

Portugal is meeting Morocco on Wednesday as part of Group B matches, aiming to win three points to move them closer to the next round.

Portugal are led by Cristiano Ronaldo who scored three goals in the first clash against Spain to avoid a defeat.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said the team was prepared for Morocco, which would try to compensate its 0-1 loss to Iran.

“Morocco are an excellent side, one of the best in Africa, with an experienced coach, with players from European leagues. They’re a very well-organized team, a team that plays the game on the edge, puts all the intensity onto the pitch and we have to respond to that,” Santos told reporters on eve of the match.

He added Portugal “have to impose our qualities but in the first place give everything we have to give.

“It’s not enough for Portugal to play at the level that we played in the European Championships. It’s not enough to be competent, you have to play at the highest level. If we do that, I believe that we will win,” he said.

Morocco coach Herve Renard was asked by reporters about Ronaldo, whose confidence seemed high following his equalizing goal against Spain, saying “we must do everything to make it a less exceptional game for him.” Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter in the group stages in the 1986 World Cup.

Spain, meanwhile, will be playing against Group B leader Iran in Kazan Arena, in the first ever encounter between the two nations.

Spain will try to assert itself and win the clash, while the Iranians will try to maintain their leadership of the group.

Carlos Queiroz, Iran coach, said the match would represent a “special moment for Iran to play against Spain – a serious candidate for the world title.

“It is obvious that Spain have better players, but it is not only a matter of players,” he said. “We are a team and we want to play our best game ever … We want to make the most of whatever small number of opportunities we have.” Spain coach Fernando Hierro, for his part, voiced unequivocal in his backing for goalkeeper David De Gea, who conceded three goals in the first match against Portugal.

“David De Gea will be in the starting lineup. We have full trust in him,” said Hierro.

Source: Kuwait News Agency