Moscow: Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo-powered Portugal will be up against 41st ranked Morocco in the second match in Group B of the ongoing 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup here at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.
Heading into the opening clash of the day, Portugal will aim to continue the momentum from their thrilling 3-3 draw against Spain in the opening round of the showpiece event.
All eyes will be on Ronaldo, who notched up a hat-trick in the opening match to help his side not only settle with a draw but also hand them an unexpected point.
Morocco, on the other hand, will enter the game on the back of their shocking 0-1 defeat at the hands of Iran, thus putting them in the bottom in Group B.
The encounter, however, is crucial for both teams as they are yet to clinch a win in the tournament.
While a victory will prove to be crucial for Portugal in the context of their survival in the tournament, a defeat for Morocco will all but bring an end to their World Cup campaign.
Morocco had defeated Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter in the group stage of the 1986 World Cup. It was Morocco’s first-ever win at the tournament while Portugal’s only defeat in the World Cup against the African opposition.
In the second match, two-time winners Uruguay will meet Saudi Arabia in their second match in Group A while Iran will cross swords with Spain in the third and final match on Wednesday.
Uruguay, who are competing in their 13th World Cup, kicked off their FIFA World Cup campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over Egypt, thanks to Jose Gimenez’s 89th-minute header. It was Uruguay’s first win in their opening game at a World Cup since 1970.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, slumped to a shocking 0-5 defeat at the hands of hosts Russia in the opening match of the World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
On a related note, the Portugal and Morocco squads are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes , Beto , Rui Patricio
Defenders: Bruno Alves , Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui , Pepe , Raphael Guerreiro , Ricardo Pereira , Ruben Dias
Midfielders: Adrien Silva , Bruno Fernandes , Joao Mario , Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes , William Carvalho
Forwards: Andre Silva , Bernardo Silva , Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins , Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma
Goalkeepers: Mounir Mohamedi , Yassine Bounou , and Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia , Romain Saiss , Manuel Da Costa , Nabil Dirar , Achraf Hakimi , Hamza Mendyl.
Midfielders: Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi, Youssef Ait Bennasser, Sofyan Amrabat , Younes Belhanda, Faycal Fajr, and Amine Harit.
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Ayoub El Kaabi, Nordin Amrabat, Mehdi Carcela, Hakim Ziyech, and Youssef En Nesyri.