Portugal and Morocco World Cup betting will be just another chapter in a centuries-long tug-of-war between the two countries. In fact it could be said that they had, historically speaking, one of the first home-and-away matchups. The first leg was the Moroccan expansion in the Iberian Peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries. The second leg was the Portuguese expansion in Morocco between 1415 and 1515. The Governments of Morocco and Portugal signed one of the oldest bilateral agreements in 1774. However, you can bet the World Cup will put an end to all that peace and friendship nonsense.
20 June 2018 15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Portugal vs. Morocco
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo will attempt to relive the glory days of King Afonso V of Portugal, who was called o Africano due to conquering Alcácer Ceguer, Tangiers, and Arzila. CR7 won his second straight Ballon d’Or (his second back-to-back win) – and fourth in the last five years – last week. He had earlier been awarded The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the year. “This is something I look forward to every year,” he said after receiving the award on the Eiffel Tower. “Thanks to my Real Madrid team-mates (thought but not said: except Sergio Ramos). And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.” Ronaldo helped Portugal win the Euro 2016, scored 42 goals for Real Madrid (a Club World Cup betting favorite) in all competitions, including twice in a 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus, and 25 goals in 29 league fixtures to lead Real to a Liga Championship.
That of course was then. And this is now. And now he “is not among Europe’s top 10 performing strikers across its five biggest domestic leagues this season.” Moreover, his relationship with Real Madrid has allegedly soured considerably, and rumors about his exit from the team have been swirling for months. While his club level has hit a low, Ronaldo’s national level will be put to the test when Portugal plays two friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia, both squads obviously of the African persuasion. On the other hand, Morocco failed to secure an exhibition match with a European opponent. Moroccan news outlets reported that the Royal Moroccan Football Federation was looking to set up a friendly game with the Belgian national team, expected to be scheduled for March.
However, Moroccan FIFA agent Youssef Hijoub said in a TV program featured by French news channel France24, that the Belgian authorities refused friendly matches with North African nations, such as Morocco and the aforementioned Tunisia and Algeria, in order to avoid all security threats. Perhaps they are wary of being hit by ‘friendly’ fire? One thing’s for sure, though; Portugal has more collective cojones than Belgium does. must be the latter’s proximity to France. To be fair though, some Moroccan fans did invade King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels before the end of their previous meeting on March 26, 2008. Which Belgium lost 4-1. So maybe that has something with it too. It’s a shame, all things considered, because Morocco could use the experience of playing a team with much better World Cup betting odds.