Morocco v Portugal: Portugal can end African dream
Morocco v Portugal betting odds, tips and predictions
Morocco have already made history at the World Cup 2022 and are flying the flag for Africa when they face Portugal in the first of Saturday’s quarter-finals.
The north Africans have reached the last eight for the first time after beating Spain but are the underdogs once again against their Iberian neighbours.
Saturday’s match at the Al Thumama Stadium kicks off at 3pm and is live on ITV.
Morocco ready to soak up pressure
There have been plenty of upsets at the World Cup in Qatar but Morocco were the only team in the round of 16 to defeat a higher-ranked opponent and are 12/5 to repeat the trick in the Morocco v Portugal betting odds.
Having beaten Belgium on their way to winning their group, Morocco eliminated another of the European heavyweights as they held Spain to a goalless draw and then held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out.
It was another impressive defensive display from Morocco, who have only conceded one goal at Qatar 2022 and that was an own goal against Canada.
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Spain mustered only six shots in 90 minutes and – while they improved in extra time with seven attempts – struggled to create chances throughout.
Morocco were happy to absorb Spanish pressure, with their total of 229 completed passes less than a quarter of Spain’s tally (967) and almost surpassed by Rodri alone (204).
Portugal more ruthless than rivals
Morocco’s defence will be given its toughest examination yet by a Portugal team that blew Switzerland away on Tuesday night.
The same Swiss team that held out for 83 minutes against Brazil could not cope with a Portugal team which flourished as Cristiano Ronaldo sat on from the bench, having been dropped by coach Fernando Santos.
Goncalo Ramos was handed his first international start and rewarded the coach’s faith with a hat-trick while Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao also got in on the act.
It was the first time at the World Cup that Santos’ side had less possession than their opponents (43 per cent compared with 48 per cent, 9 per cent in contest).
They outshot the Swiss by 14 to 10 and were far more accurate, with nine efforts on target compared with one. That took Portugal’s goal tally in Qatar to 12 so there is reason to think that they have the attacking flair to break down Morocco’s defence.
They are 4/6 to win in 90 minutes but may have to be patient so Draw HT/Portugal FT at 3/1 is one of our Morocco v Portugal betting tips, while evens for the second half to have the most goals looks a solid pick.
Bench boost for favourites
Morocco are yet to go behind at the World Cup which has allowed them to defend in numbers and look to hit teams on the break.
Even against Canada they had the less of the ball than their opponents so while they are clearly capable of causing an upset, the worry is what will happen if they find themselves chasing the game.
Fatigue could be an issue, with the game against Spain looking to have taken its toll by full-time, and Portugal’s options off the bench – most notably Ronaldo – were impressive in midweek so this could prove a game too far for the underdogs.
Looking through the #YourCall bets for the last of our Morocco v Portugal predictions, Portugal to win by two goals or more, score in both halves and over 4.5 total goals is tempting at 12/1 if they can repeat their previous performance.
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All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publication