On paper, the Iberian outfits are fair better equipped to succeed in Russia. But the guidance of a pair of crafty, tactically strong managers gives the underdogs a genuine shot at displacing the favourites for progression.
The Moroccans are the lowest ranked side in the group at No.42, but they boast some credentialled European stars like Younes Belhanda, Mbark Boussoufa, Medhi Benatia and young Ajax star Hakim Ziyech.
With Africa’s top coach Herve Renard at the helm, they’re well regimented and full of creativity across the park - and shape as an intriguing dark horse.
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Team Melli, meanwhile, continue to benefit from the tutelage of former Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz and set out to frustrate oppositions and grind out results.
Spain are tipped as one of the favourites to go all the way in Russia. Their side is stacked with incredible talent from across the world’s best teams, and again they’ll be supremely hard to stop.
As for Portugal, a talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo continues to destroy defences and score goals into his thirties. At 33, he’s coming off a third straight Champions League victory with Real Madrid and a season that yielded 44 goals across all competitions.
Both Spain and Portugal will be out for vengeance after being embarrassingly knocked out in the group stage four years ago.
HERE’S YOUR PREVIEW TO GROUP B...
FIXTURES (All times AEST)
Saturday 16 June: Morocco v Iran @ 1am, Portugal v Spain @ 4am
Wednesday 20 June: Portugal v Morocco @ 10pm
Thursday 21 June: Iran v Spain @ 4am
Tuesday 26 June: Portugal v Iran @ 4am, Spain v Morocco @ 4am
TEAMS: SPAIN, PORTUGAL, MOROCCO, IRAN
FIFA Ranking: 8
World Cup appearances: 14
Best World Cup result: Winners in 2010
Odds: $1.05 to progress from group, $6.50 to win the World Cup
Best XI: De Gea (gk), Carvajal, Ramos (capt), Pique, Alba, Busquets, Alcantara, Iniesta, Silva, Aspas, Isco
The Coach: Julen Lopetegui helms the Spaniards at the World Cup for the first time.
Why they will progress: An abundance of quality all over the park, headlined by players from the world’s best club teams.
Why they won’t: The pressure is on them to recover from the disaster of four years ago.
FIFA Ranking: 4
World Cup appearances: 6
Best World Cup result: Third Place in 1966.
Odds: $1.22 to progress from group, $23 to win the World Cup
Best XI: Rui Patricio (gk), Cedric, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Raphael Guerreiro, William Carvalho, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo (capt), Andre Silva
The Coach: Fernando Santos is in charge. He steered Greece to the knockout stages for the first time ever in 2014.
The Star: Who else? Cristiano Ronaldo will headline Portugal once again, and at 33 is coming off another ridiculously prolific season with Real Madrid.
W hy they will progress: Ronaldo is easily in the top three most dangerous attackers in the world and he’ll be serviced by some quality midfield prospects, their quality going forward should see them progress.
Why they won’t: They’ve progressed to the knockout rounds just twice in the last 50 years, historically an inability to perform on the big stage could cost them.
FIFA Ranking: 42
World Cup appearances: 4
Best World Cup result: Round of 16 in 1986
Odds: $4 to progress from group, $326 to win the World Cup
Best XI: Mohamedi (gk), Dirar, Benatia (capt), Saiss, Hakimi, El Ahmadi, Amrabat, Belhanda, Boussoufa, Ziyech, Boutaib
The Coach: The only man ever two win the African Cup on Nations with two different countries, Herve Renard, will coach Morocco in Russia.
The Star: Juventus centre-back Medhi Benatia is easily the highest profile member of the squad, while Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech is also expected to star.
Why they will progress: A well-organised defence, a structured and creative midfield and a quality system under Africa’s best manager could propel an unlikely progression through a tough group.
Why they won’t: They’re in a group with Spain and Portugal. Enough said.
FIFA Ranking: 36
World Cup appearances: 4
Best World Cup result: Group stage in 1978, 1998, 2006, and 2014.
Odds: $5.50 to progress from group, $501 to win the World Cup
Best XI: Beiranvand (gk), Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, Montazeri, Mohammadi, Hajsafi, Ezatolahi, Shojaei (capt), Jahanbakhsh, Taremi, Azmoun
The Coach: Carlos Queiroz is well known to fans for his time with Group B opponents Portugal having steered them to a knockout loss in 2010, he’s been with Iran since 2011.
The Star: Sardar Azmoun, of Rubin Kazan, is a goal threat and has already nabbed 23 international goals at just 23 years of age.
Why they will progress: Team Melli set up to frustrate their opponents, as was on show in their narrow loss to Argentina in 2014. And this time around they’ll seek to do the same to pull off upsets against their fancied group opponents – should they do so effectively, it could see them sneak into the knockout stage for the first time ever.
Why they won’t: Group B is one of the most difficult in Russia. Spain, Portugal and Morocco are all strong sides, and a lack of quality may be unbridgeable for Queiroz’s men.
PREDICTION: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL TO PROGRESS.