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World Cup 2018 Standings: Predicting Wednesday's Scores and Results

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 20, 2018

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 15: Nacho Fernandez of Spain celebrates with teammates after scoring his team`s third goal with team mates during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

The second round of group fixtures continues at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, when Spain and Portugal will each look to move up in the Group B stakes when they face Iran and Morocco, respectively.

Iran are the unlikely leaders of Group B after beating Morocco 1-0 in their opener, but La Furia Roja will prove far more testing than the north African nation and have the summit in their own sights.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a match-defining hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain on Friday, and the Real Madrid star will look to impress again and boost his World Cup Golden Boot hopes in the process.

In Group A, Uruguay take on Saudi Arabia at the Rostov Arena in their second outing of the competition, although only a substantial goal haul will see them leapfrog Russia at the summit.

Read on for preview and predictions ahead of Wednesday's World Cup schedule, complete with all the latest match odds and predictions for how the group standings will look in the aftermath.

       

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 (13-20), Draw (29-10), Morocco (17-4)

Uruguay (8-25), Draw (23-5), Saudi Arabia (15-2)

Iran (13-1), Draw (13-2), Spain (17-100)

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 Out to Pip Portugal, Uruguay Capitalise on Russia Struggles

Spain's outing against Iran at the Kazan Arena sees them take on a side of much lower status than in Friday's encounter with Portugal, but the stakes remain just as high.

New Spain manager Fernando Hierro can afford to be a little more upbeat about his chances this time around, although he faces a familiar figure in former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz, as explained by Spanish football reporter Sid Lowe:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Fernando Hierro has been speaking ahead of Spain’s game in Kazan tomorrow.... and @sidlowe was there #FromRussiaWithLowe https://t.co/mKNwaGgbte

Preparing for his second game in charge of the national team, Hierro confirmed David De Gea will keep his place between the posts for Spain despite his blunder being responsible for Ronaldo's second goal on Friday.

Speaking of the Portugal captain, former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco) backed Fernando Santos' key man to continue his goal haul when he faces Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow:

Chad Johnson @ochocinco

Portugal vs Morocco tomorrow morning, CR7 will score twice

Portugal will be favourites for the clash regardless of the form Ronaldo is in, but the 33-year-old appears to be at his best if his hat-trick heroics against Spain are anything to go by.

Morocco's defence was their trump card coming into the World Cup, but if Iran are capable of beating it and they remain short of options in attack, their World Cup campaign will be all but ended on Wednesday.

The same could be said for Saudi Arabia as they steel themselves for a meeting with Uruguay. This comes after their 5-0 opening defeat to Russia indicated they were the worst performers in the first round of group matches, per football writer Greg Johnson:

Greg Johnson @gregianjohnson

Germany second worst team for being sliced apart by opposition passes so far. Only Saudi Arabia worse! https://t.co/uSOGfLXhvC

As impressive as Russia have been, they don't boast the talents of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who are looking to open their tournament accounts.

It's difficult to see beyond a win for Oscar Tabarez's side even if they did labour to beat Egypt in their opener, and they could go a long way to making up the ground on Russia at the Group A perch.