Sardar Azmoun

World Cup 2018 – Group B preview

Portugal

Star man Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes for a World Cup medal to add to his list of honours is running out. With an experienced group of players including Ronaldo, Pepe and Joao Moutinho the hope is high for a positive tournament.

The Portuguese are the reigning European champions, beating hosts France in 2016, this will surely give them confidence in Russia.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Key Man – Cristiano Ronaldo

Age catches up with us all and Ronaldo is no different, at 32 this could be his final hurrah.

Coach – Fernando Santos

Santos has been in charge since 2014, setting up his sides to take advantage of Ronaldo’s pace and ability, how long can that last?

Spain

When Vincente del Bosque retired in 2016 Julen Lopetegui came in and has revitalised a stagnant Spanish side who had so much success then failed to retain both European and World Cup titles.

No doubt Lopetegui has a wealth of talent available to him through goalkeepers, defence and midfield, the only real concern is who will lead the line? Alvaro Morata has struggled at Chelsea, leaving Diego Costa as the main frontman.

Andres Iniesta

Key Man – Andres Iniesta

442 appearances for Barcelona Iniesta moves to Japan & Vissel Kobe for next season, but could still have a great impact in Russia.

Coach – Julen Lopetegui

The 51-year-old former keeper took Spain through an undefeated qualifying campaign including a 3-0 victory over Italy.

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Morocco

After a gap of 20 years the North Africans are back at the World Cup. The squad features several promising young talents including Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech and Younes Belhanda.

French coach Herve Renard has brought discipline and flair to a team developing an exciting brand of football based on solid defending and fast attacking tempo,

Nabil Dirar

Key Man – Nabil Dirar

The versatile midfielder helped Fenerbahce to second place in Turkey this year, and is very experienced at international level.

Coach – Herve Renard

Boasting success winning the African Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012 & the Ivory Coast three years later.

Iran

The Iranians went unbeaten in 18 qualifying games across two rounds. In the last round, Iran didn’t concede a goal in nine games but finished with a 2-2 draw against Syria.

Iran will be playing their fifth World Cup, qualifying back-to-back for the first time. The first team to qualify from Asia, Iran sealed their spot with a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan back in June.

Sardar Azmoun

Key Man – Sardar Azmoun

The 23-year-old Rubin Kazan striker already has 23 international goals to his name.

Coach – Carlos Queiroz

The veteran former Real Madrid manager retained his job after the 2014 World Cup and has rebuilt the squad.

Sport Central Prediction

Portugal & Spain to qualify