Who? Spain - Morocco
Where? Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
When? June 25, 20:00 (CET local time)
Spain (Yossi Medina)
Spain is living in a dream. Only few days ago, the whole team looked like a full chaos. Without the late coaching change, it was common to think that Spain may be a huge disappointment. In the conclusion of the group stage, Spain is currently in its best situation, as they are on the top of the group and facing Morocco, which already knocked out.
Thanks to Diego Costa, Spain already score the same number of goals as they score in Brazil four years ago. With three goals until now, Costa is in shape to look for more goal and maybe aim Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot.
For the captain Sergio Ramos, clinching the round of 16 spot could ensure him a Spanish record. Ramos, who currently made 15 World Cup appearances, can equalize Iker Casillas' 17-caps record as the most capped Spanish players in World Cup.
Spain's match against Nigeria in 1998 is well remembered, but since than Spain won their last two World Cup matches against African teams with wins against South Africa in 2002 and Tunisia in 2006. Playing another match against team from Africa should be an easy task, but Spain would consider this game as their most important match in the World Cup until now.
Morocco (Uri Levy)
Morocco disappointing World Cup will be finished with a match against Spain. In their last match, the Atlas Lions has outclassed Portugal everywhere on the pitch, except in the box itself. They created chances, but simply couldn't score. Unless Morocco was conceding so fast and early in the game, we might have been discussing the heroic performance by the North Africans.
Overall, Morocco is a great loss for the World Cup. A talented, varied and quality team, that in 180 minutes did everything right except scoring. Herve Renard proved his quality as a tactical coach, but he lacked the right planning with his frontline. Morocco wasn't lethal up front, and eventually that is what went against them. Morocco became the first team to be officially eliminated from the World Cup.
Yet, the French coach chose to conclude beautifully the Moroccan experience in the tournament after the last game. “I am proud. I am proud of my players. I am proud of my staff. I am proud in this country. I am proud”. With these words, Morocco will hope to surprise the Spaniards, and leave Russia with a direct impact on the knockout stage. This alone, would be a respectable, though not enough, achievement.