Offshore sportsbooks are understandably very keen on Portugal defeating Morocco. The Africans could not get the job done against the equally humble Iran. The Moroccans failed to put goals on the scoreboard and points on the table in their World Cup opener. Morocco lost 1-0 to Iran on June 15th. On the other hand, Portugal escaped their opening match with a very valuable point. The Portuguese tied 3-3 with Spain. The Spanish national football team isn’t all that’s cracked up to be, but it was a very game squad nonetheless. More importantly, captain and star Cristiano Ronaldo put on a clinic. He scored all three Portugal’s goals, including a beautiful free kick in the dying minutes. All things considered, CR7 put on a master class. Too bad Lionel Messi wasn’t paying attention.
About the only negative thing you can say about the Portugal national football team is that they are too dependent on Ronaldo. CR7 is the Tom Brady to Portugal’s New England Patriots. The comparison is not just because both dudes are too sexy beasts. As a matter of fact, ESPN says Ronaldo made, with his hat-trick, a case to be considered the greatest of all time. On a single day, Ronaldo matched his previous World Cup goal production. He joined Miroslav Klose, Uwe Seeler and Pele as the only footballers to have scored in four World Cups. Additionally, he is now the oldest player to score a hat-trick in World Cup history. Finally, he is, with Ferenc Puskas, the most prolific European-born international goal-scorer in history. As well as the second most-prolific in general.
It’s safe to say that Portugal will live or die by Ronaldo. That could be a bad thing, like four years ago. Or it could be a great thing, like now. Sure, he did let his country down in Brazil in 2014. But now he looks hell-bent on making up for past disappointments. Therefore, as long as he is healthy, focused, and determined, Portugal has nothing to worry about. At least not against Morocco. By the way, CR7 took great advantage of Spain’s few mistakes. Especially on the second goal. Morocco is less experienced and talented, and already has one loss under their belt. They could be reasonably expected to make even more mistakes than Spain.
And speaking of mistakes, Moroccan Aziz Bouhaddouz made a huge one against Iran. One that cost his team the game. He scored an own goal. The game’s only goal. And in injury time, no less. He was trying to clear a ball from Morocco’s own small box. Who knows? Perhaps his instincts as a striker kicked in and he drove the ball into his own net. The point is, it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t make you a favorite at many offshore sportsbooks.
Still, at least one Portuguese player is not sleeping on Morocco. “Morocco lost their first game – now they will be giving their all,” Portugal forward Andre Silva said. “Of course Portugal are stronger than Morocco. But the game is not going to be easy. We must respect all our opponents. Any game at the tournament is difficult and I can’t say that one match will be easier than the other. We need to study every opponent.”
Portugal vs. Morocco Sportsbook Odds and Betting Information:
- Date: June 20
- Time: 15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
- Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
- Referee: Mark Geiger (United States)
- Best online sportsbook odds:
- Morocco +475
- Portugal -154
- Draw +265
Odds taken from BetAnySports.eu
Prediction: Not disregarding Silva’s words, but Portugal should be able to score as many goals as against Spain. If not more. Without conceding as many. As long as Ronaldo is on point, then offshore sportsbooks’ money should be on the Portuguese.