Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran and Morocco – Martin Keown's guide
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The four-year countdown is over, the finally kicks off on Thursday and it promises to be yet another scintillating tournament.Group B contains Portugal, , and Morocco.smail's MARTIN KEOWN gives his rundown of each team in Group B, including the manager, the man to watch out for, their strength and their biggest weakness. PORTUGALHas hardly put a foot wrong since taking over in 2014, winning Euro 2016. Portugal’s captain, talisman and all-time top scorer is motivated by a desire to keep proving he is the best in the world. With that drive, Ronaldo will drag Portugal as far as he possibly can. As one of Manchester City’s supporting cast, the 23-year-old winger will be fresh and raring to go. Santos’ team are well drilled and confident, remaining unbeaten at Euro 2016 and winning nine of their 10 qualifiers.They have three ageing centre backs. Bruno Alves, Pepe and Jose Fonte have an average age of 35. It doesn't get much tougher than taking over a team with 48 hours to go before their opener. remain the strongest side in the group but the 50-year-old must draw on all his experience starring for Real Madrid if they are not to regret ditching Julen Lopetegui.The Man City midfielder is given licence to roam. He dovetails so well with Andres Iniesta. The interchange between these two holds the key to ’s success in Russia. Hailed as the future for Real Madrid and , the 22-year-old can shine with his pace, dribbling and thunderous left foot.In David de Gea, have the world’s best goalkeeper. His save percentage of 80.3 this season was the best in the . They are slow starters, losing their first match in 2010 and 2014. With the runners-up in this group likely to face Uruguay, it is vital they hit the ground running against Portugal. Former Portugal coach will be out to stun his home country. AZ striker hit 21 goals for the Dutch side, becoming the first Asian to top-score in a European league. The midfielder had a hand in both Ostersunds goals when they shocked Arsenal 2-1 in the Europa League. Their defence kept 12 successive clean sheets in qualifying. They will need to show similar steel against Diego Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo. With such focus on defence, they scored just 10 times in their last 10 qualifiers. Frenchman won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast. Rock at the heart of Juventus’ defence for the last two seasons. The full back, 19, broke into the Real Madrid team this year, playing nine times and scoring twice. Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech is a free-kick expert and was named this season’s player of the year in Holland.Not enough firepower. Their top scorer is Ayoub El Kaabi with 11 goals.