To be fair, this is a hard one to call because of the nature of the teams. With all due respect to the teams, they are what you would call filler nations.

Judging by the quality of players as well as recent form, we think that Morocco will eke out a narrow win over their Asian opponents. Morocco has a team that has more experience in the big leagues of Europe, which will be the defining factor. Benatia’s leadership, Belhanda’s dynamism and Hakim Ziyech’s skills will be too much for Iran to handle.

Iran’s performances in their friendly games before the World Cup also influences our pick. The Iranians lost one game and won two but the wins came against poor opposition like Lithuania and Uzbekistan and Team Melli rarely looked convincing. Against a team of better quality like Turkey, the Iranians lost despite Turkey playing with 10 men.

Morocco, meanwhile, are on a run of 20 games unbeaten. In the friendlies before the World Cup, the Atlas Lions defeated Estonia, 3-1 and Slovakia, 2-1. They also had a goalless draw with Ukraine. Moreover, Morocco also won the Africa Nations Championship this year with a 4-0 win over Nigeria.

Our Prediction: Morocco 1-0 Iran


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