The Atlas Lions have been handed a tough draw as they return to football’s biggest stage after a 20-year absence and that is reflected in the Morocco World Cup 2018 odds.
One plus point for Morocco is that they face rank outsiders Iran in their opening fixture in St Petersburg.
That could lead to some speculative Morocco World Cup 2018 betting tips and predictions ahead of much tougher tests against Portugal in Moscow and Spain in Kaliningrad.
Of course, the Atlas Lions were the first African side to win a World Cup finals group back in 1986, when finishing ahead of Portugal, Poland and England.
They also performed with credit in 1998, when drawing 2-2 with Norway and beating Scotland 3-0 either side of losing to Brazil.
In fact, they would have progressed in France if Norway hadn’t managed to snatch a surprise late winner against Brazil in the final round of games.
Qualification for this summer’s World Cup went well, with Morocco finishing four points clear of Ivory Coast in their group.
With Gabon and Mali making up the numbers, the Atlas Lions registered three wins and the same number of draws, impressively keeping six straight clean sheets.
Odds correct on date of publication: 21/05/2018
Head coach Renard has claimed African Nations Cup triumphs with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast three years ago, becoming the first manager to win that tournament with two different countries.
Juventus centre-half Medhi Benatia is the on-field general and he has also contributed some useful goals for club and country this season.
The 31-year-old netted in Morocco’s 2-0 away win over Ivory Coast and bagged a brace in Juve’s Coppa Italia final victory against AC Milan.
Wolves defender Romain Saiss is another familiar face at the back, while teenager Achraf Hakimi has made a number of appearances for Real Madrid this term.
Veteran midfielder Mbark Boussoufa is best remembered for his days with Anderlecht, twice being voted the best player in Belgium’s top flight.
Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal is one of several other attack-minded individuals, including Ajax free-kick specialist Hakim Ziyech.
Former Aston Villa recruit Karim El Ahmadi can help to hold things together in front of the back four.
Rank (world): 40
WC appearances: 40
Best effort: Last 16 in 1986
Road to Russia
Ivory Coast 0-2 MAR
MAR 3-0 Gabon
Mali 0-0 MAR
MAR 6-0 Gabon
MAR 0-0 Ivory Coast
Gabon 0-0 MAR
Medhi Benatia (D)
Romain Saiss (D)
Achraf Hakimi (D)
Mbark Boussoufa (M)
Sofiane Boufal (M)
Karim El Ahmadi (M)
Herve Renard – FRA