- Morocco v Spain
- Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 10:00 ET
- At Education City, Al Rayyan
An unpredictable Group stage brought us Morocco and Japan as winners of their respective Groups, but the result is that Morocco has a tough Round of 16 game against the 2010 World Cup winners.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Looking at the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that the bookies have reacted to Spain’s defeat in its final Group game and Luis Enrique’s team is not as short in the markets as we might have expected. Bettors make Spain favorites at around -165, while the draw is priced at +280 and Morocco at +550.
|Morocco v Spain|
World Cup Second-Round Betting Briefing
Morocco is tied with Tunisia in second place in the list of African nations who have qualified for the World Cup most often behind only Cameroon, which has made eight World Cup appearances.
Morocco first appeared at the World Cup in 1970, losing two of its games but signing off with a draw against Bulgaria. Its next qualification came in 1986, when it won a tricky Group, drawing with Poland and England, before beating Portugal to secure Second-Round progression and a knockout tie with West Germany, which Morocco lost 1-0.
Since then, it has appeared four times, including in 2022, but exited at the Group stage in 1994, 1998, and 2018, without winning a game.
Spain has played in 16 out of the 22 World Cups to date, placing it joint fifth in the all-time table, behind only Brazil, Argentina, Italy, and Germany.
At its first appearance, in 1934, Spain beat Brazil but went out to eventual winners Italy in the quarter-finals. After a 16-year wait, Spain did even better in its second World Cup, winning all three of its Group games to progress to the Final Group, where it finished fourth.
Since 1978, Spain has been an ever-present at the World Cup, but has only once made it past the quarter-finals. That was in 2010 when a dominant Spanish team that would also win the 2012 European Championships won the tournament for the first and only time in its history.
Morocco Aiming for Upset
There have been some major upsets at this World Cup, and some of them were the result of major teams resting key players for their final Group game.
That cannot be said for Morocco, however, which finished top of Group F on merit. It held the 2018 runners-up Croatia to a draw, then beat strongly fancied Belgium in its second game and signed off with a comfortable win over Canada to finish with seven points – the joint-highest Group stage points tally.
Taken as a whole, Morocco’s performances in the Group stage represent a significant achievement, but its fans won’t want the World Cup adventure to end just yet and Morocco’s players will be aiming to pull off another upset against one of world soccer’s big guns.
Spain Must Bounce Back
Spain’s defeat to Japan in its final Group game may have featured a controversial second goal for their opponents, and it’s also worth noting that Enrique made five changes to the starting line-up, including two in central defense, but there were still major concerns about that performance and Spain will need to bounce back here against dangerous opponents.
In particular, Spain’s defenders need to be more switched on when starting moves, as Morocco will be just as keen to pounce on any lack of concentration in that department.
That said, the two earlier Group performances did make a statement about what this Spain team can achieve. Costa Rica was dismantled in impressive style, and although Spain had to settle for a draw against Germany, it created plenty of chances in an entertaining game.
The goalscoring form of Alvaro Morata, whether starting the game or coming off the bench, has also eased concerns about a lack of firepower up front in this team. A quarter-final against Portugal or Switzerland is the reward for getting past Morocco, but Spain has to be fully focused against an opponent that will have nothing to lose.
World Cup Second-Round Match Betting
Picking the winner in the match betting market here is a simple task. Spain has a team packed with experienced and talented players and on paper there is no contest between the two teams.
World Cup knockout games rarely run to script, however, as nerves and expectation can take their toll, particularly on young players with big nations that are expected to do well. Although Spain is shorter in the market here than we might expect, the value lies with its opponent. Morocco has shown no fear against other top European nations and can pick up a normal time draw here.
Best Online Sportsbooks to Bet on the World Cup