After an exhilarating first six days, the seventh day of the World Cup will see some of the biggest players in action.
Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh from his hat-trick against Spain in Portugal’s opener will headline their clash against Morocco. Spain, meanwhile, take on Iran in the other clash from the group.
The next match will see Barcelona striker Luis Suarez take the field in Uruguay’s clash with Saudi Arabia.
Here’s a look at what you can expect at the World Cup on Wednesday:
Portugal vs Morocco
Just how difficult Wednesday’s game will be for Morocco can be gauged by their coach Herve Renard own statements.
"Even if you want to draw up plans for Ronaldo, he always finds a way out or makes a difference or puts his team back on the right track," Renard said on Tuesday. "He's absolutely exceptional. Perhaps that word isn't even strong enough but you have to do everything to stop him."
While Renard’s words have an element of truth to them, they also give a glimpse into how much confidence the African team, which lost 1-0 to Iran in their opener thanks to a 95th-minute own goal, has of causing an upset on Wednesday. Morocco are on the verge of exiting the 2018 World Cup — the first time they are making an appearance since 1998 — unless they can stave off defeat against the European champions.
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
This edition of the World Cup represents somewhat of a shot at redemption for Luis Suarez. The striker has seen himself being painted as the villain in the last two editions of the World Cup.
Suarez, who was sent off for a goal-line handball against Ghana in the 2010 edition in South Africa and then bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in 2014, will be playing in his 100th game on Wednesday.
Uruguay will start as the top dogs going into the match against Saudi Arabia, who were thumped 5-0 by hosts Russia in the 2018 edition's curtain-raiser.
Meanwhile, Uruguay brushed aside Egypt, who played without Mohamed Salah, 1-0 in their opener.
Iran vs Spain
Spain’s countdown to the World Cup has been far from ideal, with the national federation sacking coach Julen Lopetegui sensationally just two days before they opened their campaign in Russia. Their woes were further exacerbated by Portugal and Ronaldo, who helped himself to three goals against the 2010 champions.
One of those goals came from a goalkeeping howler from David de Gea, which have also turned the spotlight on the goalkeeper’s form going into the second game at Kazan.
Iran have the comfort of having racked up a victory in the first game — a hard-fought 1-0 win over Morocco, thanks to a late own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz knows they now face Spain and Portugal in their next two games, but insisted his team can "make the impossible possible".
"If the game against Morocco was the World Cup final for us, the game against Spain will be the Universe Cup final," said the former Real Madrid coach.
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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 12:39:19 IST