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"It may even be more hard than Portugal and Spain because they will play without pressure".

It gave Queiroz good reason for positioning his team as the group´s outsiders but both teams had cause for optimism after his side strolled through 18 games of Asian qualifying without defeat while Morocco were unbeaten too, with the added coup of not conceding a single goal.

Both sides have managed to maintain their qualifying form throughout their preparations.

Morocco, who enjoyed more possession throughout, began in aggressive fashion, taking the game to their opponents and overloading their right flank as they targeted Hajsafi.

Suddenly, Iran's blighted and frustrating World Cup buildup - the scrapped friendly matches, the sportswear sanctions from the United States that prevented players from wearing their favourite soccer shoes - didn't matter anymore. What they have done is a little bit disrespectful. We often talk about European champions and former world champions, but against these teams the motivation will be natural because we will play against two of the biggest football nations.

With tough challenges ahead, both countries will be seeing this as a must-win match.

Morocco will play Iran for the first time in a World Cup as they start their Group B campaigns on Friday afternoon (4pm BST).

By contrast, few managers in Russian Federation have as much World Cup experience as Carlos Quieroz. They have never progressed further than the round of 16 (1986), being eliminated in the group stages three times in their four previous appearances.

Morocco ran out of steam in the second half, with Iran holding onto the ball for longer, slowing the game down.

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In fact, Young jubilantly declared while celebrating with an equally garment-averse JaVale McGee, "All summer '18 is shirtless". Later in the day, he made a decision to also take a shot at Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson .

Iran striker Sardar Azmoun, who plays in Russian Federation for Rubin Kazan, has scored 23 times in 33 global appearances.

The Netherlands may have failed to qualify for the World Cup, but they will not be without representation.

Morocco will be hoping Nabil Dirar is passed fit. He told reporters: "The national team will continue to prepare with a crescendo to be ready on June 15".

Amine Harit pulled a half-volley wide, Ziyech missed his kick when an inventive free-kick routine saw the ball rolled to him on the edge of the penalty area, Younes Belhanda sent a diving header wide and Ayoub El Kaabi shot off target.

The King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, has already instructed his country to try again and bid to host the 2030 event, while a strong World Cup showing in Russian Federation would help raise the profile of the team.

Carlos Queiroz has so far masterminded his way through qualification and Iran got a place in Russian Federation through sheer hard work and determination.

Nobody's expecting a thriller in St. Petersburg between two teams who rely very heavily on their defences.

Morocco impressed in qualification and only conceded one goal as they made it to the tournament in Russian Federation.


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