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Liverpool players celebrate a goal against Southampton at Anfield2

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Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka4

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World Cup Group B: Predictions, best bets and fixtures

Football
Spain are expected to come out on top of Group B
Spain are expected to come out on top of Group B

We look at the World Cup group featuring former champions Spain, alongside European title holders Portugal, Morocco and Iran.

Sky Bet odds

Fixtures

Friday June 15 - Morocco vs Iran (4pm, ITV), Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

Friday June 15 - Portugal vs Spain (7pm, BBC), Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi

Wednesday June 20 - Portugal vs Morocco (1pm, BBC), Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Wednesday June 20 - Iran vs Spain (7pm, ITV), Kazan Arena, Kazan (pictured, below)

Monday June 25 - Iran vs Portugal (7pm, BBC), Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Monday June 25 - Spain vs Morocco (7pm, BBC), Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad's World Cup stadium
Kaliningrad will host Spain's final game

All times stated in BST, to see more about the locations click here for our stadium guide

Verdict

One you would expect to be a two-horse race for top spot, which could essentially be decided on matchday one.

Portugal face Spain on June 15 for their Group B opener, with the winner putting themselves firmly in the driving seat to finish top of the pile.

Spain will be looking to win the trophy for the second time in three tournaments, while Portugal will be looking to make it back to back major trophies on the international stage after Euro 2016 glory.

The two teams crossed paths at the 2010 World Cup, with Spain winning 1-0 in the round of 16, and this meeting could be just as cagey with the nations keen not to get off on the wrong foot.

Trying their best to compete with the Iberian duo will be Iran and Morocco, 36th and 42nd in FIFA’s world rankings respectively.

It would take a disastrous campaign from the big guns to allow one of these to qualify, but they will undoubtedly give it a good go in Russia, with the emphasis on defensive solidarity.

Iran really need to get a good result in their opener with Morocco, or else they could finish bottom which looks the likely case.


Group B prediction (11/4 with Sky Bet)

  1. Spain
  2. Portugal
  3. Morocco
  4. Iran

Best bets

Straight forecast - Spain winner, Portugal runner-up at 6/5

Spain winner, Iran bottom at 13/8


Squads

Spain | Full profile

All you need to know about Spain ahead of the World Cup in Russia
Click on the image for all you need to know about Spain ahead of the World Cup in Russia

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao).

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid).

Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

Portugal | Full profile

All you need to know about Portugal ahead of the World Cup in Russia
Click on the image for all you need to know about Portugal ahead of the World Cup in Russia

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)

Morocco | Full profile

All you need to know about Morocco ahead of the World Cup in Russia
Click on the image for all you need to know about Morocco ahead of the World Cup in Russia

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia), Yassine Bounou (Girona), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)

Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus), Romain Saiss (Wolves), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir), Badr Benoun (Raja Casablanca), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), Hamza Mendyl (LOSC)

Midfielders: M'barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), Amine Harit (Schalke 04)

Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard de Liege), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax).

Iran | Full profile

All you need to know about Iran ahead of the World Cup
Click on the image for all you need to know about Iran ahead of the World Cup

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo).

Defenders: Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Ramin Rezaeian (Ostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Alsaad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal).

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Haji Safi (Olympiacos), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis).

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Mehdi Taremi (Al Gharafa), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest).


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Odds correct as of 1030 BST 06/06/18

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