Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal with Isco
Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring goal with Isco. Reuters

Spain has not exactly convinced so far in this Fifa World Cup 2018, and yet they find themselves just a point away from guaranteeing a place in the knockout rounds in Russia.

The 2010 world champions will hope to mix style with substance when they play Morocco in their final Group B match on Monday.

Spain has, so far, managed a draw against Portugal – that thrilling 3-3 result – and a 1-0 win over Iran.

While they ran into an inspired Cristiano Ronaldo in their opening match, Spain really should have done a whole lot better against Iran, as determined as the Middle Eastern side might have been.

Fernando Hierro was put in a difficult situation when he had to take over at the last minute from Julen Lopetegui, so Spain will consider being on the brink of qualification as a positive, considering the turmoil they were in with just a couple of days to go to the start of the Fifa World Cup 2018.

Hierro has been helped by the fact that there are several extremely experienced players in his squad, players who have picked up World Cup and European titles. The fact that the manager hasn't really needed to change too much has also been something in their favour.

Morocco, unfortunately, is eliminated from the Fifa World Cup 2018, that too despite two commendable performances. Their inability in front of goal is the reason behind their early exit, but the African side will definitely want to make some sort of mark in this tournament before they fly back home.

Team news:


Reserve goalkeeper Pepe Reina is a doubt after picking up an injury. Nacho Monreal, the Arsenal left-back, missed training for a few days with a minor problem but has returned in time to, most likely, take his place on the bench.

What Hierro needs to decide is if he can make a few changes to his team without threatening his team's chances of qualifying for the round of 16.

Andres Iniesta could be rested, considering the playmaker's age and his importance when or if Spain gets into the knockout rounds. If Iniesta is rested, then Koke, Thiago Alcantara or Saul Niguez would all hope to feature.

Two of those three could play if Hierro decides taking a risk on Sergio Busquets is not worth it with the midfielder in threat of a one-match suspension if he picks up a yellow card.


The team faced criticism for playing Nordin Amrabat, days after the midfielder suffered a concussion. However, it wouldn't be a surprise if Amrabat gets another go, despite there being nothing but pride to play for, for Morocco.

Possible XI

Spain: David de Gea; Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Koke, Thiago Alcantara; Isco, David Silva, Iago Aspas; Diego Costa.

Morocco: Monir El Kajoui; Hamza Mendyl, Mehdi Benatia, Manuel da Costa, Achraf Hakimi; Karim El Ahmadi, Mbark Boussoufa; Nordin Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyach; Khalid Boutaib.