The final day of Round of 16 matches sees a clash with plenty of historical significance off the pitch as Morocco takes on Spain. That match is followed by Portugal facing Switzerland in an all-European tie. The action is heating up as all four teams aim to qualify for the quarter-final stage.
Here is a look at the games with odds from BetXchange.
Morocco VS Spain – Education City Stadium
Few would have predicted Morocco getting out of a group that included Belgium – the team ranked No. 2 in the world by FIFA – and fellow European power Croatia. Fewer would have expected the Atlas Lions to win the group, but they managed to do so with wins over Belgium and Canada and a draw with Croatia.
Their defensive quality has been the rock of their success, with Morrocco conceding just one goal across their three group-stage contests. However, that defensive ability will be sternly tested in the Round of 16, with a match against a Spanish side that many have going a long way at this World Cup.
Spain looked peerless in their first game as they battered Costa Rica 7-0. A draw with Germany – in a game they should have won – was good too, but they lost 2-1 to Japan in a smash-and-grab in their last group game.
The way Japan played is how Morocco needs to approach this. Spain will pass the ball all day across their talented midfield of Gavi, Pedri, and the ageless Sergio Busquets. The key is keeping that passing game in front of you, not allowing the through ball or one-twos on the edge of the box they are looking for.
Spain should win this, but I expect it to be very cagey. Look for bets for Morocco that are low totals on corners (especially in the first half) and maybe their booking total being high as they work on stopping Spain from playing in the middle of the park with some heavy challenges. Morocco is 17/20 to have the most bookings, which is one bet I like here.
Portugal VS Switzerland – Lusail Iconic Stadium
Portugal had already qualified for the Round of 16 before their final group game against South Korea. A much-changed side went down 2-1, with both the Europan and Asian sides progressing at the expense of Uruguay and Ghana.
Switzerland had beaten Cameroon and lost to Brazil in their first two group games, and with the African side stunning the South Americans 1-0, the Swiss needed a result against Serbia to progress. hey got that with a hard-fought – and wildly entertaining – 3-2 victory to set up this all-European clash.
The Swiss have gone seven World Cups without reaching the quarter-finals, and they have never before won three matches at a single World Cup, but with players like Xherdan Shqiri and Breel Embolo in their side, they will be no easy out.
Portugal has plenty going forward with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, and (of course) the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo, but any team with an almost 40-year-old Pepe starting at the back has a soft underbelly. I actually like this to be a draw after 90 minutes, going into extra time and potentially even penalties.