World Cup 2018: Wednesday's Match Odds and Updated Group Predictions

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 20, 2018

Spain's coach Fernando Hierro smiles as he meets with Spanish journalists at Krasnodar Academy on June 18, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

Spain and Portugal return to the 2018 FIFA World Cup battleground on Wednesday and find themselves in action against respective Group B opponents Iran and Morocco.

The front-runners drew 3-3 when they collided in Sochi on Friday, leaving Iran to top the pool with a dramatic 1-0 victory over Morocco, although the order of teams is set to change drastically come Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Uruguay are targeting a second win from as many matchups in Group A as they prepare to face pool whipping boys Saudi Arabia at the Rostov Arena.

The Green Falcons were unimpressive when they succumbed to Russia 5-0 in their tournament opener, and they look to be in for another tough day's work against the team that's been considered big favourites to top Group A.

Read on as we preview Wednesday's World Cup slate, complete with score and group standings predictions, along with the latest match odds.

        

Wednesday's Schedule/Predictions

Portugal 3-1 Morocco, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET

Uruguay 5-0 Saudi Arabia, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET

Iran 0-4 Spain, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET

         

Wednesday's Match Odds

Portugal (-155; bet $155 to win $100), Draw (+290), Morocco (+425)

Uruguay (-315), Draw (+460), Saudi Arabia (+750)

Iran (+1300), Draw (+650), Spain (-590)

Odds courtesy of OddsShark

         

Projected Group Standings (Goal Difference)

Group A

1. Russia: 6 (+7)

2. Uruguay: 6 (+6)

3. Egypt: 0 (-3)

4. Saudi Arabia: 0 (-10)

       

Group B

1. Spain: 4 (+4)

2. Portugal: 4 (+2)

3. Iran: 3 (-3)

4. Morocco: 0 (-3)

        

Spain, Portugal Restore Equilibrium in Group B

After a roller-coaster first week of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, it's time some normalcy was restored by two heavyweights beating two smaller-stature opponents as expected; that's where Spain and Portugal come in.

Fernando Hierro's second game as Spain manager comes against an Iranian team that has former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz to thank for much of their progress, as Tifo Football recently explained:

But the gulf in pedigree between these two is about as big as it gets at this World Cup, despite Iran's scrappy, last-minute win over Morocco. A defence-heavy, regressive approach that, if they were to replicate against Spain, would likely give Spain frontman Diego Costa his chance at a hat-trick.

Opening draw taken into account, there's no need for Spain and Hierro to panic in Group B. They've already faced their hardest foe in Portugal and can move top on Wednesday as long as they better the result of their rivals, with the team looking relaxed in training:

Almost the same goes for Portugal, although they'll have a tougher time against Morocco, whose late 1-0 defeat to Iran shouldn't paper over the fact they were in control for large bouts of that opening match.

Cristiano Ronaldo can taste blood in the water after topping the goalscorer leaderboard with a hat-trick against Spain, and Fernando Santos' attacking array will be enough to best the Atlas Lions, who are lacking in top-class offensive options.

         

Uruguay Too Stern for Saudi Arabia

Uruguay were granted a reprieve in their 2018 World Cup debut when Mohamed Salah missed their meeting with Egypt, but they won't need as much fortune to make their way past struggling Saudi Arabia.

No team conceded more goals in their opening match of the tournament than Juan Antonio Pizzi's Group A minnows, although United States under-20 coach Tab Ramos showed these two teams weren't far apart in terms of passing:

That being said, Uruguay boast arguably one of the best centre-back partnerships in the competition with Atletico Madrid pair Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, the scorer of their late 1-0 winner against Egypt.

Head coach Oscar Tabarez knows a win over Saudi Arabia will effectively guarantee his side a place in the round of 16, and they have some honour to defend as the most successful South American team so far, per Squawka:

As well as possessing great finishers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, it's Uruguay's higher-calibre back line that will make the difference at the Rostov Arena, with Uruguay set to hand the Green Falcons another sore defeat.

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