Sports

Portugal, Spain favourites but Santos wary of Morocco and Iran

Portugal, Spain favourites but Santos wary of Morocco and Iran

Portugal won nine and lost one of their 10 qualifying games to top Group B and qualify for the World Cup, while Spain, Iran and Morocco went unbeaten. Facing Portugal first was the only thing that did not convince former La Roja keeper Santiago Cañizares, who noted on Spanish radio that Spain rarely perform well in the opening game, and he knows the score.

"Personally I am very happy because it is a group with two teams from two very special places for me", said Queiroz. The top two teams from each group will advance to the round of 16, with the final to be held at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on July 15.

Team Melli have never gotten past the group stage in four World Cups but the former Real Madrid says they will see what happens.

"Iran had a good qualifying campaign, the second time they are in the World Cup, have experience and the coach also, maybe one of the most experienced of this World Cup". "We have 25 players in the British game. Portugal have to accept that we are one of the favourites but if you look in a bit more detail, you can see it's very hard", Santos said. That is not such a positive panorama for me because playing the host nation is always a risky business.

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"But the reality is that it's very hard because the fact that they consider us favorites to go through to the next round alongside Spain it's not something that benefits us, on the contrary, it favors our rivals because it loads us with more responsibility". Further afield, in Kazan and Kaliningrad, Spain will play their remaining group games. "They've got a coach that has been with them a long time and they are going to demand a lot from us". The only player that they have that is worth watching is Tottenham's Heung-Min Son.

And Benatia who scored a goal in seven games as Herve Renard's men ended their 20 years wait for a World Cup ticket, is already eyeing a place in Russian Federation when the tournament kicks off on June 14.

Santos added: "Morocco have scored goals and conceded none". South Korea may not be as strong as they once were, but the World Cup is full of surprises and that is why Germany must play their best football from the start of the tournament.


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