Spain vs Morocco predictions and match preview for Tuesday’s World Cup Last 16 fixture. Read on for analysis as Luis Enrique’s team target a place in the Quarter Finals.
|Tuesday 6th December 2022
|World Cup Last 16
Spain vs Morocco Preview
Spain are through to the World Cup Last 16 after a real scare on Tuesday night with both Japan and Costa Rica leading at one point in the 2nd Half which would have seen Luis Enrique’s side eliminated. Spain did go on to lose to Japan but progressed in 2nd place with a knockout clash with neighbours Morocco their reward.
It did feel as though Spain became relatively content with a defeat in the latter stages of the Japan game, enabling them to progress in 2nd rather than 1st place into a slightly more favourable section of the draw. However that wasn’t the plan heading into the game and Spain’s sloppy start to the 2nd Half which resulted in two quick-fire Japanese goals would have been a concern for Luis Enrique.
They also looked vulnerable to the high press during the latter stages against Germany and some of the optimism and confidence from the utterly dominant win over Costa Rica on matchday one has been undone. That will present the Spain coach with some selection headaches heading into this game.
Striker Alvaro Morata has done well and scored in every game but the option of returning to a false nine and Marco Asensio will be a consideration. There are also doubts defensively but things should improve here with the likes of Jordi Alba and Aymeric Laporte expected to rotate back in.
As for Morocco, they certainly cannot be underestimated having topped a group that included Croatia and Belgium, the runners up and 3rd placed team at the last World Cup. They kept clean sheets against both of those sides which suggests Spain will have to work hard to create chances here.
The Moroccans also have plenty of talented players going forwards and are particularly strong on the right flank with Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech. The man leading the line will also be no stranger to Spain. Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri was on target in the 2-1 win over Canada last time out and is always a threat in the final third.
Simon – Alba, Laporte, Rodri, Azpilicueta – Gavi, Busquets, Pedri – Olmo, Morata, Ferran (4-3-3)
Bono – Mazraoui, Saiss, Aguerd, Hakimi – Ounahi, Amrabat, Sabiri – Boufal, En Nesyri, Ziyech (4-3-3)
Score Prediction: Spain 1-1 Morocco – Spain to Win in Extra Time
This could be a really tricky game for Spain with Morocco looking really impressive and consistent during the group stage. Spain won’t simply be able to slice open this Moroccan defence like they did against Costa Rica for example and it could potentially be a frustrating game for Luis Enrique’s team. It wouldn’t be a major shock if this went the distance although Spain may just have the edge should Extra Time be needed with better options to bring off the bench and freshen things up. They also have plenty of experience of Extra Time football from Euro 2020.
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