The World Cup’s first match in group B kicks off Friday in a clash between Morocco and Iran.
The encounter will be held in Saint Petersburg Stadium 18:00 local time (Kuwait), and Cuneyt Cakir from Turkey will be officiating the game. The outcome will be decisive for both teams because upcoming matches against Portugal and Spain will be difficult.
Therefore, the match is expected to be tough from both sides of the pitch as each team tries to grasp three points at the end of the game, to gain a chance of qualifying for next round.
With a levelled playing field in this match the experienced managers on both sides will have a crucial role to play. French national Herve Renard managing the Moroccan team, known for his brilliance in major competitions and achieving the African Cup of Nations with Cote d’Ivoire in 2015.
Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, Iran’s coach, has an exceptional expertise throughout his career managing big football clubs and Korean national team. He leads Iranian team to their second World Cup appearance in a row.
The teams will depend on their star players, like Morocco’s forward Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) who was awarded Dutch Footballer of the Year Golden Boot 2018, Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), and Amine Harit (Schalke) who played for the France national U-18 and U-21.
Iran’s star players are Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Saeid Ezatolahi who plays for Russian club FC Rostov, and the experienced defender Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Sadd).
The Iranian team is distinguished with a solid defensive line and strong attackers. As for the Moroccan team their strength is a combination of renowned manager and alongside experienced players and fresh ones.
This is the fifth participation in the World Cup for both teams. Iran was the third team to qualify for the tournament behind Russia and Brazil. The Iranians failed to go beyond the first stage in its previous participations. Morocco made it to the round 16 in the 1986 World Cup but was beaten by then West Germany.
Source: Kuwait News Agency