FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 : Spain vs Morocco Match Preview and Lineups

Spain vs Morocco
GAME Spain vs Morocco
DATE 06/12/2022
TIME 08:30 AM (Indian Standard Time)
ARENA Education City Stadium
LEAGUE FIFA World Cup 2022
Spain [0-0] Morocco Morocco Wins on Penalties

Match Preview of Brazil vs Spain vs Morocco

The penultimate World Cup 2022 last-16 battle takes place at the Education City Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, as Morocco pit their wits against Spain.

La Roja finished second in Group E to set up a tie with their African counterparts, who fended off Croatia and Belgium to finish first in Group F.

With the golden generation of Belgium under-performing and 2018 runners-up Croatia struggling to find a consistent attacking spark, Morocco took full advantage to claim a surprising first-placed finish in Group F with seven points from nine on offer.

Even in their goalless draw with Croatia, the plaudits largely went to Walid Regragui's men, who followed that point up with successive wins over Belgium and Canada to become one of only two African teams in the last 16 of the World Cup - the other being Senegal.

During their matchday three encounter with Canada, Hakim Ziyech took advantage of a blunder from Milan Borjan to chip the Canucks goalkeeper from distance in the fourth minute, and Youssef En-Nesyri put the icing on the cake before a Nayef Aguerd own goal gave the Canadians a slight glimmer of hope.

However, the Atlas Lions held on for the three points that would send them through to the knockout stages as group winners, and the 2022 tournament marks only the second time that Morocco have got this far, having been eliminated in the last 16 in 1986.

Now riding the wave of an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions - during which time they have only conceded two goals - Regragui's men are out to become the first Morocco side to reach the quarter-finals, and they could also match continental history, as their four-game unbeaten run at the World Cup can only be beaten by Cameroon's five between 1982 and 1990 out of all the African nations.

Luis Enrique did not pull any punches as his side failed to hang on to a one-goal lead against Japan on the final matchday in Group E, where Alvaro Morata's 11th-minute opener ultimately counted for very little against Hajime Moriyasu and his perennial super subs.

Unai Simon let a long-range effort from Ritsu Doan seep through his gloves as Japan restored parity three minutes after the restart, and only three minutes later, Ao Tanaka prodded home the winner after Kaoru Mitoma had only just managed to keep the ball in play.

Many an argument was had over whether Mitoma had prevented the whole of the ball from going over the whole of the line, but the scoreline in the top left-hand corner was the only statistic that mattered, as Spain dropped to second in Group E and only bested Germany on goal difference.

Our Predicted Lineups

Spain possible starting lineup:Simon; Carvajal, Rodri, Laporte, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; Torres, Morata, Olmo

Morocco possible starting lineup: starting lineup:Bono; Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Sahiri; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal

Who will win the match?

We say: Morocco 1-2 Spain (a.e.t). Morocco must harness every inch of their recent defensive resilience if they are to secure a first-ever appearance in the quarter-finals, and Regragui's attackers should also take confidence from La Roja's frailties at the back against Japan. When they click into gear, Spain are a true force to be reckoned with in the final third too, and an extensive list of attacking options on the bench could end up making the difference for Enrique's side if the teams cannot be separated after 90 minutes.

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