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Morocco meet Spain in the FIFA 2022 World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday for a place in the quarterfinals against either Portugal or Switzerland. On the same side of the draw as France and England, one of these two teams could be facing Les Bleus or the Three Lions for a place in the final on Dec. 18. Before then, this clash promises to be enticing with plenty of technical brilliance on display in this battle between two teams with historic links off the pitch.
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Morocco: It should be an unchanged XI from the one we saw against Canada at the end of the group stage with Yassine Bounou back to full fitness after missing the Belgium draw due to feeling unwell before kick-off. Achraf Hakimi should be fit despite a few issues with his ankle while Hakim Ziyech, Sofyan Amrabat, and Sofiane Boufal should also start after a few days of rest.
Spain: Dani Olmo was rested during training recently, but should be fit to feature while Cesar Azpilicueta has been nursing a calf issue after coming off at halftime against Japan. Unai Simon should continue in goal despite his mistake, but expect to see Ferran Torres and Jordi Alba back in the starting XI after Nico Williams and Alejandro Balde got their chance against Japan.
This one should be tight, but Spain should have the edge given their firepower. This one going beyond 90 should not be ruled out, but I expect La Roja to just shade it by the end. Pick: Morocco 1, Spain 2.
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