WORLD CUP FOCUS: Morocco captain Benatia relishes facing Spain in Russia

WORLD CUP FOCUS: Morocco captain Benatia relishes facing Spain in Russia
Mehdi Benatia

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday May 31, 2018. 16:00

Morocco international Mehdi Benatia says he is well aware of the challenge they will face at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.

The 31-year-old defender, who plies his trade in the Italian Serie A for Juventus, is set to captain Atlas Lions at the global tournament.

Morocco will lock horns with Iran, Spain and Portugal in Group B during the competition which is scheduled to be hosted by Russia between June, and July 2018.

“We already know that it’s going to be difficult,” Benatia said on Morocco World News.

“When you have the chance to participate in the World Cup.

Morocco will participate in the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and they will be hoping to reach the last 16 of the tournament.

“You want to play these kind of games, especially with Spain, which is the best team in the world,” Benatia, who has turned out for German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, added.

“It’s a pride and it’s a beautiful challenge.”

The Atlas Lions, who reached the last 16 in 1970, will lock horns with Asian side Iran in their first group match at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on the 15th of June 2018.

Five days later they will take on the reigning European champions Portugal at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in their second game of the tournament.

Morocco will then wrap up their group stage campaign against European giants Spain at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 25.

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