Russia will enter this world cup as the lowest ranked team. There have been talks about how this Russian side may be the poorest ever to compete in a world cup. However one cannot simply overlook the home support factor. Russia will be banking upon their home turf and home support to cause major upsets and go further in this world cup.
Key player: Aleksei Miranchuk
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder from Lokomotiv Moscow will be the number 10 and focal point of the Russian attack. He shall be running the show for Russia, provide assists and be their figurehead on the pitch. Although his final ball isn’t of top quality, he will be trying to overcome this major chunk in his game to improve Russia’s chances.
Young player to watch out: Aleksandr Golovin
With rumors of Chelsea FC interested in this talented young attacking midfielder from CSKA Moscow, this World Cup could provide him with a springboard for success. He made his national team debut in 2015 and since then developed into a major star for both club and country. He made 43 competitive appearances last season and recorded seven goals and six assists. Watch out for this young talent from Russia.
World Cup predictions:
Hopes aren’t that much high from this Russian team, but home support, legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn in their coaching staff; one still needs to be careful while playing them. They are pitted in a relatively competitive group alongside Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, and Egypt. If they focus more on winning their opening match and somehow try to draw another against Uruguay or Egypt, anything is possible.
Morocco will enter this World Cup in top form and high team spirit as they didn’t concede even a single goal in their qualifying campaign. But pitted against two major European powerhouses in Spain and Portugal, they will need a miracle to advance further from the group.
Key player: Medhi Benatia
He was their stalwart in the defense marshaling them from the back as they ended qualifying campaign on a high. This Juventus defender is a familiar face in the world football and he will try to increase Morocco’s chances of advancing further with his superb reading of the game, all-round play, and physical capabilities.
Young player to watch out: Amine Harit
This 20-year-old player from Schalke 04 possesses superb dribbling ability and pace on the ball. He could be one of the most exciting players to watch out for in this World Cup. He could create danger and panic in any opposition defence with his pace and trickery.
World Cup predictions:
Having been drawn in the same group as Iran, Portugal, and Spain lower their chances of advancing to the next round. But if they can hold onto their strength i.e. their defence against Cristiano Ronaldo and co, win against Iran and with the recent stir up in Spanish camp after their head coach sacking, hold Spain for a draw, it doesn’t seem too farfetched for Morocco to advance. However, their defence needs to be on their toes all the time against Spain and Portugal and they should hope their attack consisting of Nordin Amrabat of Leganes comes good against Iran. Otherwise, they will be looking forward to settling for a third-place finish in their group.