Canada vs Morocco Betting Preview
On Thursday, the Canadians will play their last game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup when they take on Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. Unfortunately, even though there is still this game to be played, the Canadian players know that they will be leaving Qatar regardless of what happens, thanks to losing each of their first two fixtures.
In contrast, the Moroccans will be full of hope ahead of this match. After grinding out a point against Croatia, the North Africans upped their game to deal the Belgians a devastating blow. As they sit comfortably on four points, Walid Regragui’s men know that all they need to do is beat their already eliminated opponents, and they’ll be on their way to the knockout stages for the first time since 1986 and just the second time ever.
The story so far…
The Canadians may be going home early, but they’ve certainly created a positive impression at this World Cup, showing the wider footballing audience that they can compete on the biggest stage of all.
In fact, the Canucks were mightily unlucky not to get something from their opening game against Belgium. They bettered their opponents in all areas, especially during what was a dominant first half, but they lacked a cutting edge in the final third, and that proved awfully costly.
Against Croatia, although they took the lead, their inexperience in top-level tournament football came to the fore, though again, they weren’t lacking in spirit or effort. Unfortunately, this World Cup may have come a few years too early for this improving but inexperienced Canadian side.
As far as the Moroccans are concerned, things have gone well. We knew that they had some decent players, players who can be eye-catching on the ball, such as Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal, who at times dazzled Premier League fans during his spell at Southampton, but it was always going to be a case of can they supplement silky touches and clever passages of play with defensive solidity and attacking substance. So far, the answer has been yes, they can.
In their first match against Croatia, the Moroccans defended well as a unit, they were disciplined and hard to break down on their way to draw 0-0. That effort gave them a platform from which to build, and boy, did they build against Belgium. Not only did they stick together and make life tough for their opponents, but this time they put together plenty of dangerous attacking moves, two of which were superbly finished off. If they can continue playing in that way, then no team will have an easy time facing the Atlas Lions.
What can happen in terms of qualifying?
Sadly, as touched on above, as two teams in this group already have four points, there is no chance for Canada in terms of qualifying. However, the Moroccans have everything to play for. Not only can they qualify, but they can win the group. To do that, they’ll need to win this game and better the result that Croatia gets against Belgium. If the Croats win, then the Moroccans would need to win by four or more goals to advance as group winners.
If Morocco merely want to guarantee their qualification, then they just need to avoid defeat, which you’d think they would, though we cannot take anything for granted. The Canadians have shown that they’re capable of making their presence felt in games, while the lack of pressure on them could free them up to play even better.
What should we expect from this game?
Despite the fact that they are on their way home after this game, the Canadians are unlikely to change their approach. They’ll be quick to start, they’ll press high up the pitch, and they’ll look to attack. Prior to the first game, Herdman commented on his team’s offensive play being their strength, so don’t expect them to sit back now.
Conversely, the Moroccans will probably be more than happy to sit back and allow the Canucks to come on to them. They’re yet to concede at this tournament, and that hasn’t been by accident. In fact, keeping things right before looking to add moments of quality at the other end through their intricate and tricky attacking players is something that this Morocco team does on a regular basis.
Regragui’s side arrives at this junction having won or drawn each of their last nine fixtures. Impressively, they’ve kept in seven of those nine. It’s now six games since Morocco’s defensive line was last breached.
There can be no getting it wrong, this is a team that is well-drilled. They make life difficult for their opponents, and they can control games, so Canada, though they may be on the front foot, probably by the design of the Moroccans, will have an uphill battle to get their first points of the tournament.
Goals to stay away
We know that Canada wants to play fast-paced, all-action football, but that’s not what this Moroccan team goes in for, so we could see a low-scoring game.
Moreover, while the Canadians do want to be attacking in their approach, they’re not blessed with a tremendous amount of real quality when push comes to shove in that final third. The fact that they’ve notched just once at this tournament despite firing off 32 shots is certainly evidence of that.
With the lines the way that they are currently, ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ appeals. We know that this Canadian team has struggled to score goals in Qatar, and we also know that their opponents here favour a low-key, low-scoring style of play. There’s no way that Morocco will come out and go gung-ho early on in the game. The North Africans will be more than happy to contain and take the sting out of the game.
The way that Morocco set up usually lends itself to a lack of goals being scored. We saw against Croatia that they’re happy to be disciplined positionally, while they’re also happy to keep possession and build slowly much of the time too. It’s no fluke that they’ve kept six clean sheets on the bounce. They’ve very much tried to keep things tight first and foremost, and they won’t want to abandon that system now.
Interestingly, not only have Morocco kept a clean sheet in each of their last six but less than three match goals have been scored in four of those six.
The team vying for a place in the knockout stages of the competition won’t try and win this game emphatically, that’s out of the question. They know that Canada’s attack can be stopped, and they know how to keep teams at bay, as both the Belgians and the Croatians have found out over the last week. On this basis, ‘Morocco to Win & Under 3.5 Goals’ appeals.
Each of Morocco’s last six victories have come in games containing less than four goals. They’ve kept a clean sheet in five of those six. As well as knowing how to keep their opponents quiet, they know how to hurt teams at the other end when it matters most, or rather they have the attacking players to produce moments of brilliance. In Amallah, Ziyech and Boufal, they have three players capable of tricking their way past opponents and creating openings.
All in all, everything that we’ve seen so far points towards Morocco being able to diffuse the Canadian threat before seeing out the game in typical fashion. Bettors can profit by taking a punt on ‘Morocco to Win & Under 3.5 Goals’.
If a player prop is more your sort of thing, or you want to go for something at a slightly bigger price, then take a chance on Morocco’s centre forward scoring his first goal of the tournament.
Not only does this Moroccan team contain some clever and crafty attacking players, but in Youssef En Nesyri, they have a mobile centre forward who knows where the net is. The 25-year-old striker has 27 league goals for Sevilla in the Spanish top flight across the last three campaigns, while he’s a steady scorer for his nation, notching three goals in his last seven appearances prior to the World Cup.
The striker, who has great aerial ability standing at six feet, three inches, is also not frightened to go for goal. This season in La Liga, he averages 3.98 shots per 90 minutes, so it won’t be a surprise if he looks to really test a Canadian keeper that conceded four goals last time out.
Betting Tips for Canada vs Morocco:
- Under 2.5 Match Goals (1.75)
- Morocco to Win & Under 3.5 Goals (2.80)
- Youssef En Nesyri to Score (3.30)
- Bookmaker: Casumo
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